The war in Ukraine can only be ended through "diplomatic" means, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky assured Saturday, as negotiations between Moscow and Kyiv are at an impasse.
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“The end (of the conflict) will be diplomatic,” he said in an interview with Ukrainian television channel ICTV. The war “will be bloody, it will be fighting, but it will end definitively via diplomacy”.
“Discussions between Ukraine and Russia will resolutely take place. I don't know in what format: with intermediaries, without them, in a wider circle, at the presidential level,” he said.
“There are things that we will only be able to achieve at the negotiating table. We want everything back” as before the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, which “Russia does not want”, he added, without giving further details.
The results of these talks - the subject of which may vary "depending on the time of the meeting" - must be "fair" for Ukraine, the president stressed.
Referring to a document on Ukraine's security guarantees, he said that it will be signed by "Ukraine's friends and partners, without Russia", while in parallel there will be "a bilateral discussion with Russia ".
He also recalled having made it a sine qua non condition for the continuation of the talks that the Ukrainian soldiers entrenched in the vast metallurgical complex of Azovstal in Mariupol, in the south-east of Ukraine, are not killed by the Russian army.
But the Russian troops "gave the possibility, found a way for these people to come out alive" from Azovstal, he noted. "The most important thing for me is to save as many people and soldiers as possible."
On May 17, an adviser to the Ukrainian president, Mykhaïlo Podoliak, indicated that the talks between Moscow and Kyiv were “on hold”, considering that Moscow showed no “understanding” of the situation.
The next day, the Kremlin accused Ukraine of a "total unwillingness" to negotiate with Russia to end the invasion of Ukraine.
Several meetings between negotiators from both sides have taken place, but have yielded no concrete results.
The last meeting between the heads of delegations – Vladimir Medinski on the Russian side and David Arakhamia for Ukraine – dates back to April 22, according to Russian news agencies.
After failing to take control of Kyiv and its region, the Russian army is now focusing its efforts on an offensive against eastern Ukraine, where fighting is intense.