President of Ukraine: only diplomacy can end hostilities

Ukrainian President Zelenskyy reiterated that the conflict in that country can only be resolved through diplomacy in the context of deadlocked negotiations with Russia.

“The war will have bloodshed, there will be fighting, but it can only be stopped completely through diplomacy,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told a local TV station May 21.

Zelenskyy said that talks between Ukraine and Russia will certainly take place, although he is not sure about the form, whether it will be mediated or just two sides talking to each other, meeting in large groups or on a general level.

‚ÄúThere are things that can only be achieved at the negotiating table. We want things to go back to how they were before, but Russia doesn’t want that,” the Ukrainian leader said without giving details. He stressed that the outcome of the negotiations with Ukraine must be fair.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv on May 1st.  Photo: AFP.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv on May 1st. Picture: AFP.

President Zelenskyy also mentioned an agreement to ensure security for Ukraine, saying the agreement would be signed with “friends and partners of Ukraine, not Russia.” At the same time, bilateral talks are being held with Russia.

Zelenskyi stressed that a condition for Ukraine’s continuation of negotiations with Russia is that Moscow must not kill soldiers holed up at the Azovstal Steel Plant in the southern port city of Mariupol. “The Russian military has proposed the possibility of finding a way for these people to survive when they go out,” he said.

The Russian Defense Ministry announced today that all Ukrainian soldiers at the Azovstal plant, including a total of 2,439 people, have surrendered to Russian forces. Russian soldiers took control of the Azovstal factory’s underground tunnel system, ending the nearly three-month siege.

Leading Ukrainian negotiator Mykhaylo Podolyak announced earlier this week that talks with Russia have been “put on hold”. A day later, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov accused the Ukrainian authorities of not wanting to continue negotiations.

“Negotiations are not really progressing and we see that Ukrainian negotiators are not ready to continue this process,” Peskov said.

The last time Moscow and Kyiv held talks was on April 22, according to Russian media. After more than 80 days of fighting, the military situation in Ukraine has not calmed down, with the trouble spot being the Donbass region in the east of the country.

Overview of the battlefield in eastern Ukraine after more than 80 days of fighting.  Click here for details.

Overview of the battlefield in eastern Ukraine after more than 80 days of fighting. Click here for details.

Ngoc app (Corresponding AFP)