Ukraine IS willing to accept neutral status in any peace deal with Russia, Zelensky reveals

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Ukraine IS willing to accept neutral status in any peace deal with Russia, Zelensky reveals

Ukraine could adopt a neutral status as part of a peace deal with Russia, President Volodymyr Zelensky admitted last night.

He told Russian media – who were warned not to report the interview – such a pact would have to be guaranteed by third parties and put to a referendum.

Zelensky said Russia’s invasion had caused the destruction of Russian-speaking cities in Ukraine, and said the damage was worse than the Russian wars in Chechnya.

‘Security guarantees and neutrality, non-nuclear status of our state. We are ready to go for it. This is the most important point,’ he said.

He said no peace deal would be possible without a ceasefire and troop withdrawals.

‘All entries and exits from the city of Mariupol are blocked,’ Zelensky added.

‘The port is mined. A humanitarian catastrophe inside the city is unequivocal, because it is impossible to go there with food, medicine and water,’ he said.

‘I don’t even know who the Russian army has ever treated like this,’ he said, adding that, compared to Russian wars in Chechnya, the volume of destruction ‘cannot be compared’.

It came as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had a telephone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin today where he stressed the need for a ceasefire in Ukraine, his office said.

The two leaders agreed the next meeting between Russian and Ukrainian officials should be held in Istanbul though it did not give a time frame.

Erdogan also called for an improvement to the humanitarian situation in the region, according to the statement.

Earlier on Sunday, Ukrainian negotiator David Arakhamia said the next round of face-to-face talks between Ukraine and Russia will take place in Turkey on March 28-30.

While Russia’s chief negotiator said the in-person talks would begin on Tuesday.

This week Erdogan said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s comments on the need for a referendum for compromises with Russia was ‘smart leadership’.

Speaking to reporters on a return flight from a NATO summit in Brussels, The Turkish president said his country could not impose sanctions on Russia due to its energy needs and cooperation.

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