Zelensky Sets Conditions for 'Genuine' Peace Talks Amid US Pressure

There has been recent signaling from the White House and some European capitals that "Ukraine fatigue" is driving mounting pressure on Kiev to get serious about negotiating a ceasefire with Russia.

This week an advisor to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed these reports, reaffirming the official long-stated position that negotiations remain impossible so long as Vladimir Putin is president. However, Zelensky just ahead of a global climate summit in Egypt he was set to address virtually on Tuesday for the first time laid out conditions for 'genuine' peace talks with Russia

As quoted in The Wall Street Journal, Zelensky in the new remarks emphasized that any future talks would have to be conditioned on Ukraine retaining its full territorial integrity. "Anyone who treats seriously the climate agenda should just as seriously treat the necessity of immediately stopping Russian aggression, resuming our territorial integrity and forcing Russia into genuine peace talks," Zelensky said.

Zelensky Sets Conditions for 'Genuine' Peace Talks Amid US Pressure
NurPhoto via Getty Images

He clarified further: "One more time: restoration of territorial integrity, respect for the U.N. charter, compensation for all material losses caused by the war, punishment for every war criminal and guarantees that this does not happen again," and added: "Those are completely understandable conditions."

His government has lately reiterated that it sees Crimea - controlled by Russia since 2014 - as properly belonging to Ukraine, vowing its eventual liberation. 

The Washington Post this week pointed out that "Zelensky’s ban on talks with him [Putin] has generated concern in parts of Europe, Africa and Latin America, where the war’s disruptive effects on the availability and cost of food and fuel are felt most sharply."

These conditions listed by Zelensky will only translate to the Kremlin seeing peace talks based on such as a non-starter. President Putin has already signed into law incorporation of the "four territories" into the Russian federation. But fighting is still raging in Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia oblasts.

At the very least, this week both warring sides are talking about the possibility of talking, which is better than where things stood a month ago...

It's possible, however, that the fate of Kherson could set the course of potential future negotiations. Russia has been busy evacuating its administration which was installed over the city as well as civilians, as the fight for the key area is ongoing and is set to grow fiercer. 

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