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The meeting between Zelenskyy and Putin is key to peace, and previous mistakes will be taken into account - Presidential Advisor

Tuesday, 22 March 2022, 07:51
The meeting between Zelenskyy and Putin is key to peace, and previous mistakes will be taken into account - Presidential Advisor

OLENA ROSHCHYNA - TUESDAY, 22 MARCH 2022, 08:51

Photo caption: VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, PHOTO FROM THE PRESIDENT'S OFFICE

A meeting between the presidents of Ukraine and Russia is the key to restoring peace. Such a meeting may take place when there are possible compromises that allow for a conversation one-to-one.

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Source: Mykhailo Podoliak, advisor to the head of the Office of the President of Ukraine and participant in the delegation-level talks, in an interview with the BBC

According to Podoliak: "Any fundamental decisions can only be made at a meeting between the presidents of the two countries, Russia and Ukraine.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy has a thorough grasp of the issues. He is the only person today, it seems to me, who understands precisely every aspect of what is happening between the two countries right now. That is, about the war, defence, our resources, needs and where we may or may not go. And he is the guarantor of this whole process in terms of guaranteeing the Constitution of Ukraine.

This is why, of course, such a meeting is the key to having peace. We have prepared for it and will continue to do so. We have relations with our partners who want to organise this meeting, many countries who are interested in seeing an end to the hot phase of the war.

When the working groups within the negotiation process have worked out some preliminary documents and they are passed to the presidents, they will assess whether this is now a 'road map' that can be discussed face-to-face. Then the meeting can take place.

I am not ready to say when it can happen, because the expressions ‘in two or three days’ or ‘in a week’ are always used. There is no specific date.

Details: According to Podoliak, Ukraine "has shown its fighting ability and its logistical maturity." It has been able "to build the infrastructure of war," and this "makes it possible to negotiate properly and to prepare a very good position for the president.

Podoliak made it clear that Ukraine's territorial integrity and sovereignty are fundamental principles for Volodymyr Zelensky, and that NATO is up for discussion.

According to him, there is speculation about NATO, and Russia is using it, "and this is not helping us either in the negotiation process or in defending Ukraine's interests".

"You are not closing the skies for us. You are standing on the sidelines while 10 million people are looking for a place to live, 3 million have already left the country. This is a humanitarian disaster for Europe," Podoliak noted.

He also said that Ukraine should never have signed the Minsk agreements.

According to Podoliak: "We will not make the mistake of taking words unsupported by legal obligations and turning them into icons....

We understand what the guarantees should be and how they should be enshrined through certain commitments by specific countries. We will keep all these mistakes made by politicians over the last 30 years in mind. There will not be any Budapest memorandums without a legal component.

Details: Podoliak said that Ukraine, at great cost to itself, "has become a subject of global politics, and everyone respects it" - and that this is "for many years to come".

"We will win. The only question is when. I'm not ready to say the war will be over in a day or two. Not even in terms of psychologically reassuring people. No. But what I am saying is that we will hold out for as long as it takes," he said.

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