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Zelensky is ready to accept neutral status to end the war

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Sunday he was ready to compromise with Russia in the Donbass region – because trying to drive Russian forces out of Ukraine entirely would lead to World War III, according to Reuters.

The startling reported development came as Ukraine’s top military intelligence agency said it believed Russia was pulling out of taking the country’s capital, Kyiv, to instead focus on the southern and eastern parts of the country — to try and capture the split the nation in two.

“[Russia] will try to enforce a dividing line between the unoccupied and occupied regions of our country,” claimed Brig Gen General Kirill Budanov.

“This is an attempt to create North and South Korea in Ukraine,” the military chief said.

In response, the Ukrainians would launch a guerrilla war, Budanov warned.

“The season of a totally Ukrainian guerrilla safari will start soon. Then the Russians are left with only one relevant scenario: how to survive,” he said.

Russia, which expected a quick war against Ukraine, has yet to capture a major Ukrainian city. It appears to be focusing again on the Donbass, where fighting between the Ukrainian government and separatists has been raging for nearly a decade.

Both Zelenskyy’s recent comments on the area and Russia’s reported shift in strategy may point to a possible new phase of the war, one that is more limited and with its end in sight.

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy at a meeting with speakers of the parliaments of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in Kyiv.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Sunday he was ready for a compromise with Russia in the Donbass region.
EPA/UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SERVICE HANDOUT
A man smokes a cigarette and walks away from a building that caught fire after the building next door was hit by a Russian bombing raid.
Russia has yet to capture a major Ukrainian city, but appears to be once again focusing on Donbass.
Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
A convoy of Russian military vehicles is seen as the vehicles move towards the border in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine.
Ukraine believes that Russia is trying to impose a dividing line between the unoccupied and occupied regions of Ukraine.
Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Speaking in a video call with prominent independent Russian journalists on Sunday, Zelenskyy added that his nation was ready to adopt neutral status under an agreement.

“Security guarantees and neutrality, non-nuclear status of our state – we are ready for that,” he said in Russian.

While details of the plan were hazy, Zelensky said any deal would be brokered by third parties and subject to a referendum in Ukraine. The President also made it clear that such an agreement would only be possible on the condition that Russia withdraws its troops from Ukraine.

People seek shelter after explosions in Lviv in western Ukraine.
Zelenskyy said every deal would be brokered by a third party and would be subject to a referendum in Ukraine.
AP/Nariman El-Mofty
Inside a nine-story apartment building destroyed by bombing in Nemyshlianskyi district of Kharkiv, Ukraine.
Russia has reportedly destroyed 4,431 residential buildings, 138 health facilities, eight civil airports and 378 educational institutions in Ukraine.
Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
A Ukrainian soldier stands inside a badly damaged building in Stoyanka, Ukraine.
Zelenskyy said: “The season of a totally Ukrainian guerrilla safari will start soon.”
AP/Vadim Ghirda

He told the group of Russian reporters, who were not allowed to cover the talks in their own country, that the destruction in Ukraine far exceeded the Kremlin’s wars in Chechnya.

The Ukrainian President also had harsh words for the West.

“I spoke to the Mariupol defenders today. I am in constant contact with them. Her determination, heroism and steadfastness are amazing,” he said in a speech on Sunday. “If those who have been thinking about how to ditch dozens of jets and tanks for the past 31 days had just one percent of their courage.”

Serhii, father of teenager Iliya, weeps at his son's lifeless body as it lies on a stretcher at a maternity hospital converted into an infirmary during the war with Russia in Mariupol, Ukraine.
Serhii, father of teenager Iliya, weeps at his son’s lifeless body as it lies on a stretcher at a maternity hospital converted into an infirmary during the war with Russia in Mariupol, Ukraine.
AP/Evgeny Maloletka

In other news of the day:

  • Russian forces have attacked a fuel facility near the city of Lviv used by the Ukrainian military with long-range, high-precision missiles, according to the Russian ministry. The ministry showed video of the rocket attacks, which took place just 40 miles from Ukraine’s border with Poland, where President Biden met with the country’s president and Ukrainian officials yesterday.
  • The next round of negotiations between Russia and Ukraine will start Tuesday in Istanbul, Turkey, a Turkish official told CNN. Previous negotiations have yielded little, but Turkish President Recep Erdogan has reportedly called on Putin to issue a ceasefire.
  • War casualties on Ukraine’s infrastructure now total at least $63 billion, Ukraine’s parliament said. So far, 4,431 residential buildings, 138 health facilities, eight civil airports and 378 educational institutions have been damaged.
  • Zelenskyy signed a law that would send journalists to prison for three to eight years for reporting on Ukrainian army movements that were not approved or published by the government.

With postal wires

Ukrainian firefighters extinguish a fire in a warehouse after a bomb attack in Kyiv, Ukraine.
Zelensky believes that Russia is no longer aggressively seeking control of Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, but is instead focusing on the southern and eastern parts of the country.
AP/Vadim Ghirda

https://nypost.com/2022/03/27/zelensky-willing-to-adopt-neutral-status-to-end-the-war/ Zelensky is ready to accept neutral status to end the war

JACLYN DIAZ

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