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Ukraine is ready to negotiate with Russia on neutrality – official

Soldiers of the National Guard of Ukraine take up positions in central Kyiv
Soldiers of the Ukrainian National Guard take up positions in central Kyiv, Ukraine February 25, 2022. REUTERS / Gleb Garanich

February 25, 2022

By Pavel Polityuk

(Reuters) – Ukraine wants peace and is ready to negotiate with Russia, including on neutrality status regarding NATO, Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak told Reuters on Friday.

“If negotiations are possible, they should be held. If in Moscow they say they want to hold talks, even as neutral, we are not afraid of this,” he said in a text message. “We could talk about that too.”

“Our readiness for dialogue is part of our steadfast pursuit of peace.”

Ukraine is not currently part of NATO or the European Union, although it wants to join both, depending on its former warlord Moscow.

Ukraine gave up its nuclear weapons after gaining independence upon the dissolution of the Soviet Union, in exchange for security guarantees from European countries.

After pro-democracy protests toppled Russia’s ally Ukraine’s president in 2014, Moscow annexed the Crimean peninsula in the Black Sea from Kyiv and continues to support rebels fighting government troops in Ukraine. east of the country.

Seven years later, Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine from the air, sea and land on Thursday and his troops entered the capital Kyiv on Friday.

(Reporting by Pavel Polityuk, Writing by Gabriela Baczynska; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Jon Boyle)

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Bobby Allyn

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