Ukraine hardened its stance on talks with Russia on Tuesday, saying talks could only continue once the Kremlin relinquished all Ukrainian territory and that Kyiv would fight even if its friends ‘stabbed in the back.’
The words come days after a report in US media that Washington had encouraged Kyiv to express willingness for negotiations, and were geared at rebuffing such pressure at a time when US midterm elections might put Western support for Ukraine to the test.
President Volodymyr Zelenskiy stated in a nocturnal address before speaking to world leaders at a climate summit that Russia must be pressed into ‘real’ dialogue.
Ukraine had frequently suggested such negotiations, according to Zelenskiy, but ‘we always received insane Russian answers with new terrorist attacks, shelling, or blackmail.’
‘Once again – territorial integrity, respect for the United Nations Charter, recompense for all war damages, punishment of all war criminals, and guarantees that this will not happen again. These are entirely understandable circumstances.’
Since Russia’s takeover of Ukrainian land was announced at the end of September, Zelenskiy has declared that Kyiv will never talk with Moscow as long as Vladimir Putin stays Russian president. Kyiv authorities have reiterated that position in recent days, while also stating that Kiev is willing to negotiate with Putin’s eventual successor.