The President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zenesky, stated that he was ready for high-level peace talks with Russia, marking Jerusalem as a possible location.
Zelensky stated that holding lower-level technical negotiations in Belarus, Russia, or Ukraine would be unconstructive, so the leaders could potentially meet in Jerusalem.
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“We are generally positive,” Zelensky said of Bennett’s role as a peace broker. “I am personally positive about anyone’s mediation … But I don’t call Bennett ‘anyone’ because I think he can play an important role,” adding that, “it is very good to have such mediation.”
Benett, acting at the request of Ukraine, met with Putin and has since spoken by phone several times with both Putin and Zelensky.
Moscow shared a little about Bennett’s mediation efforts, but Putin struck an optimistic note on the several rounds of technical negotiations between Russia and Ukraine.
“There are certain positive developments there, as the negotiators from our side reported to me,” Putin said on Friday at a meeting with his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko, according to Russian state news agency Tass.
High-level talks in Antalya, Turkey, between foreign ministers of Russia and Ukraine didn’t result in progress.
Zelensky stated that there wasn’t substantial progress.
Moscow asked that Ukraine cease military actions, pledge never to join NATO, and enshrine neutrality in its constitution. Also, to accept Crimea as Russian territory and to recognize the separatist-controlled regions of Donetsk and Luhansk as an independent.
“I’m ready for a dialogue, but we’re not ready for surrender,” Zelensky said in an interview with ABC News on Tuesday.
“Our diplomats are working and discussing the details of the agenda that may be between us and Russia,” he added.
Zelensky said thousands of people have been killed in Ukraine by Russian forces, which he blamed on “the fact that Russia has not once confirmed the possibility of a meeting.”
“And this is their responsibility entirely,” he said.
“Let’s hope. That needs to be done. Then it will all end,” Peskov said.
Putin describes the invasion as a “special military operation” to disarm Ukraine’s military and topple its government, a dual objective he’s called “demilitarization and denazification” that he claims is needed to protect Russians living in separatist-controlled parts of eastern Ukraine from “abuse and genocide.”