Ukrainian President Zelenskyy insists on meeting with Putin

Ukrainian President Zelenskyy meets injured in a hospital in Kyiv
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visits people injured fleeing Kiev’s outskirts as Russia’s assault on Ukraine continues March 17, 2022 at a hospital in Kyiv, Ukraine. Press Service of the President of Ukraine/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS PICTURE WAS SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY.

March 22, 2022

By Ronald Popeski

(Reuters) – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Monday that it was not possible to negotiate an end to the war in his country without meeting with Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin.

Zelenskyi told European public TV channels that such a meeting could discuss the future of the occupied Ukrainian territory, but it would take more time to resolve the issue.

He also reiterated his admission earlier this month that Ukraine cannot now secure NATO membership.

“I believe that until you meet the President of the Russian Federation … you cannot really understand what you are ready to do to end the war and what you are ready to do if we are not ready for this or this compromise,” said Zelenskyj in an interview.

Zelenskyy has been trying to meet Putin for almost a year, but the Russian leader has declined, instead urging the Ukrainian president to resolve his country’s “civil war” with Moscow-linked separatist areas.

Since Russian troops poured into Ukraine last month, Zelenskyy has increasingly called for talks to end the fighting.

Last week he called for a speedy meeting so Russia could “limit the casualties caused by its mistakes.”


Russia’s attack on Ukraine has killed thousands and displaced almost a quarter of Ukraine’s 44 million people from their homes. Germany predicted that the number of refugees could reach as many as 10 million in the coming weeks.

“I am ready to raise the issue of the occupied territories at a meeting with the Russian President, but I am sure that there will be no solution at this meeting,” Zelenskyy said in his interview.

He said several conditions had to be met before such matters could be dealt with, namely a ceasefire, the withdrawal of troops and security guarantees.

“When people try to stop a war, there is a truce and troops are withdrawn. Presidents meet, agree on troop withdrawal and there are security guarantees of one kind or another,” he said. “There have to be compromises to ensure our safety one way or the other.”

Zelenskyy said that Ukraine is aware that it cannot be accepted into NATO now. NATO member states, Zelenskyy said, “understand that they don’t want to fight with Russia and therefore cannot take us on … we have to face it and say ‘ok, other guarantees’.”

(Reporting and writing by Ron Popeski; Editing by Lidia Kelly, Leslie Adler and Sam Holmes) Ukrainian President Zelenskyy insists on meeting with Putin

Bobby Allyn

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