On Sunday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky demanded a “face-to-face” meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin to broker an agreement to end the war.
According to TheFacts, Zelensky shared his comments during Sunday’s nightly address to his besieged nation. With some optimism in his voice Zelensky said:
“We are looking for peace, really, without delay. There is an opportunity and a need for a face-to-face meeting in Turkey. This is not bad. Let’s see the outcome.”
Several Russian media outlets published Zelensky’s remarks early Monday morning. A report translated by the Associated Press quotes Zelensky as saying:
“We must come to an agreement with the president of the Russian Federation, and in order to reach an agreement, he needs to get out of there on his own feet … and come to meet me.”
The first several rounds of negotiations between Ukrainian and Russian officials have yielded few results. Russian troops continue to hammer away at several cities. Recently, Ukraine reported that Russia targeted a facility used as a bomb shelter in the besieged city of Mariupol—resulting in more than 300 civilians deaths.
Russia considers NATO expansion efforts a threat to its security and has demanded that Ukraine not join the NATO military alliance. Zelenskyy previously indicated that Ukraine would join NATO, but recently signaled that his nation would not pursue NATO membership, but that the matter must be decided via a referendum vote, which can not take place until Russia withdraws its troops.
Russian officials have indicated that negotiations are welcome, but according to The Epoch Times, “stressed that no outside Western mediators be present.”
On Monday, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov said during a video conference: “We’re ready to give diplomacy a chance. That’s why we agreed to the talks, which are resuming in Istanbul,” according to state-run media.
Lavrov was clear, however, that Russia would not tolerate Western interference in the peace process, noting there have been “many examples” of incidents when diplomacy was “shattered by Western colleagues,” adding that “they can’t be trusted anymore.”
Larvov continued: “I wouldn’t want to see any shuttle diplomacy from our Western partners because they’ve already done their ‘shuttling’–in February 2014 in Ukraine and in February 2015 in Minsk.”
Sunday night, Zelensky reiterated that Ukraine wants peace “without delay” and was hopeful that the negotiations in Istanbul this week will prove fruitful.
The negotiations are being brokered by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who spoke to both Putin and Zelensky over the weekend.
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