As peace talks between Russia & Ukraine are set to take places in Turkey this week, the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zilenskiy insists on Ukraine’s territorial integrity after previously suggesting he was open for a compromise.
In his late Sunday video address to Ukrainians, Zelenskiy stated that his government would prioritize the “territorial integrity of Ukraine” in Istanbul talks.
Zelenskiy, however, stated that Ukraine was open to accepting neutrality and compromising on the status of eastern Donbass as part of any peace agreement.
Zelenskiy stated that any agreement must be guaranteed and subject to referendum in the video call, which was broadcast by the Kremlin.
“Security guarantees, neutrality, nonnuclear state of our state. He said in Russian that he was ready to do it.
Despite talks being imminent, Kyrylo Budanov (head of military intelligence in Ukraine) stated that Russian President Vladimir Putin was looking to seize the eastern half of Ukraine.
He said that it was an attempt to create North Korea and South Korea in Ukraine. This refers to the Korean division after World War Two. Zelenskiy urged the West not to provide Ukraine with tanks, planes, and missiles in order to resist Russian forces.
On Sunday, Turkish President Tayyip Turkey called Putin and agreed to host the talks. He also requested a ceasefire, better humanitarian conditions and a ceasefire, his office stated. In-person talks will be held, according to Russian and Ukrainian negotiators.
After President Joe Biden stated at the conclusion of Saturday’s speech in Poland that Putin “cannot stay in power”, top American officials sought to clarify Sunday that the United States has no policy of regime change.
Antony Blinken, U.S. Secretary-of-State, stated that Biden meant Putin couldn’t be “empowered” to wage war against Ukraine or elsewhere.
Russia failed to capture any Ukrainian major cities after more than four weeks’ of conflict. On Friday, Russia signaled that it would reduce its ambitions to secure the Donbas region. There, Russian-backed separatists are fighting the Ukrainian army for eight years.
According to a local leader of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic, a referendum could be held in the region soon on Russia joining. This is similar to what happened in Crimea in 2014 when Russia took the Ukrainian peninsula.
Crimeans overwhelmingly voted to leave Ukraine and join Russia, a vote that most of the world didn’t recognize.
Budanov foresaw that the Ukrainian army would repel Russian forces and launch a guerrilla warfare attack.
He stated, “Then there’ll be one relevant scenario for the Russians left, how to survive.”
The spokesperson for Ukraine’s foreign ministry also denied any talk of a referendum in eastern Ukraine.
Oleg Nikolenko stated to Reuters that all fake referendums in temporarily occupied territories were null and void and would have no legal validity.
Moscow claims that the goal of what Putin calls a special military operation is to demilitarize and “denazify” its neighbor. This is a pretext to unprovoked invasion, according to the Western allies of Ukraine.
Ukraine described prior negotiations, some of them in Russian ally Belarus as “very difficult”.
The invasion of Ukraine has caused destruction in several cities and created a humanitarian crisis that has resulted in the displacement of approximately 10 million people. This is nearly 25% of Ukraine’s population.
Tatyana Manyek, a refugee who crossed the Danube to Romania by ferry on Sunday, said that people in Odesa, her hometown, were “very afraid”, but she would have stayed if it wasn’t for her daughter.
“It would prove very difficult to provide basic living conditions for the child.” She clutched a pet dog and said that this is why she had decided to leave.
Pope Francis called for an end of the “cruel, senseless” conflict in his Sunday blessing.
According to the Ukrainian military, Russia continues to move additional military units towards the Ukraine border. It also launches missile and air strikes against Ukrainian forces, including the city of Kharkiv.
Concerns were also expressed by Ukraine about the safety of Chernobyl’s Russian-occupied nuclear power plant. This was the site of the worst civil nuclear accident since 1986.
According to Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vershchuk, Russian forces pose a threat to the containment vessel built around the station’s fourth reactor. She asked the United Nations to send a mission to assess these risks.
Vadym Denysenko, a Ukrainian Interior Ministry adviser, stated that Russia had begun to destroy Ukrainian fuel storage and food storage centers. Russia claimed that its missiles destroyed a fuel depot in Ukraine on Saturday, as well as a military repair facility near Lviv.
A Ukrainian presidential advisor stated that Ukraine was taking small counter-offensive measures as Russian forces attempt to encircle its forces.
Although 1,119 civilians have been killed and 1,790 injured in Ukraine, the United Nations says that the true toll could be much higher. According to Ukraine, 139 children have been killed in the conflict and more than 200 were injured.
Vereshchuk stated that 1,100 people were evacuated out of frontline areas, including Mariupol’s southern part, following the agreement between Russia and Ukraine to establish two “humanitarian corridors”.
Heavy bombardment has decimated the encircled port between Crimea and eastern regions held by Russian-backed separatists. Many residents have taken refuge in basements, where they are unable to access water, food, or power.