Zelenskiy signals readiness for new talks if Mariupol troops are not harmed

NNA - Ukraine has suggested that it is willing to resume talks with Russia as Moscow claimed to have taken full control of the besieged city of Mariupol – its biggest prize since it invaded Ukraine in February.

Speaking to a television channel on Saturday, Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, said that “discussions between Ukraine and Russia will undoubtedly take place”.

Under what format I don’t know – with intermediaries, without them, in a broader group, at the presidential level,” he added. “But the war will be bloody, there will be fighting and [it] will only definitively end through diplomacy.

“There are things that can only be reached at the negotiating table. We want everything to return [to as it was before] but Russia does not want that.”

The Kremlin’s spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, responded by blaming Ukraine for stopping the talks. The last discussions between the two sides took place on 22 April, according to Russian news agencies.

During the interview, held with a Ukrainian broadcaster, Zelenskiy spoke of creating a document enshrining security guarantees for his country. Although bilateral discussions would be held with Russia, the document would be signed by “friends and partners of Ukraine, without Moscow”, he added.

However, he warned that the precondition for resuming negotiations was that Moscow did not kill Ukrainian troops who had been defending the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol. “The most important thing for me is to save the maximum number of people and soldiers,” he said. --- the guardian 






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