Mr. Mykhailo Podolyak – Advisor to President of Ukraine Zelenskyy and Chief Negotiator of Ukraine – Photo: REUTERS
Advisor to the President of Ukraine Zelensky and Chief Negotiator of Ukraine, Mr. Mykhailo Podolyak refused to agree to a ceasefire and said Kyiv would not accept any agreement “with the element of territorial concessions”. with Russia.
Speaking to Reuters at a heavily guarded venue recently, Mr Podolyak said: “The war will not stop (after the concessions). He will only be sidelined for a while. They (Russia) will start a new, even bloodier and bigger – scale attack”.
According to him, concessions to Ukraine are counterproductive because Russia will fight back harder if a fight ensues.
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Draghi last week called for an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine. The Russian news agency TASS quoted the Russian Defense Ministry as saying that the call was “an initiative from the US side”.
Peace talks between Ukraine and Russia are currently stalled. Both Russia and Ukraine blame each other for this. The last direct round of negotiations between the two countries took place in Istanbul, Turkey, at the end of March.
In a speech on the night of May 21, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said: “The situation in Donbass is extremely difficult. Russian troops try to attack the cities of Sloviansk and Sievierodonetsk, but Ukrainian forces block this move.
Also on May 21, Ukrainian forces in the rebel-held areas of Lugansk and Donetsk said they had repelled nine attacks in the previous 24 hours and destroyed five tanks and 10 other armored vehicles.
According to Reuters, Polish President Andrzej Duda has returned to Ukraine for a visit and will address the Ukrainian Parliament on May 22.