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1 Sep, 2022 10:32

Ex-Ukrainian president shares details on talks with Russia

Viktor Yushchenko says the West initially pushed Zelensky towards negotiations with Moscow
Ex-Ukrainian president shares details on talks with Russia

Following the outbreak of the Ukraine conflict, Western leaders initally pushed Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky towards peace negotiations with Russia, but later changed their tune. That's according to the country’s former president, Viktor Yushchenko.

He told newspaper Ukrainska Pravda that t the tone changed significantly after Kiev accused Russian troops of committing war crimes in Bucha and other towns outside of Kiev in the spring.

“I will not name any names, but presidents and prime ministers were arriving from Europe in groups with one message for President Zelensky: ‘Sit at the negotiating table, and we will figure something out later,” Yuschenko insisted.

“But after seeing Bucha, Gostomel, they began to understand that the Ukrainian people will not grant the authorities permission … to sit down for negotiations and say, ‘Let’s pay for the peace with some part of the national sovereign territory.’ No one would even have such an idea!”

Russia launched its military operation in the neighboring country in late February, taking large chunks of lands in southern Ukraine under its control and gradually pushing Ukrainian troops out of Donbass.

Moscow denies that its soldiers have committed war crimes and maintains that its troops only strike military targets.

Peace talks between Russia and Ukraine effectively broke down in late March, with both sides blaming each other for the failure of the negotiations.

Ukrainian and Western officials have since argued that talks with Moscow would only make sense if Kiev gains the upper hand on the battlefield and can negotiate from a position of strength.

“The Russian authorities will surely offer negotiations to us if they see the strength of the world that supports Ukraine,” Zelensky said on Monday.