Ukraine will not negotiate with Moscow until Putin is replaced as president, Zelensky and his cabinet said
Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has refused to negotiate a peace deal as long as Vladimir Putin remains president of Russia, issuing a demand for regime change via his official Telegram channel on Friday.
Claims he had “always offered Russia coexistence on equal, honest, dignified and fair terms,” Zelensky blamed Russia for the failure of the negotiations and insisted that it was “obviously this is impossible with this Russian president.”
“We are ready for a dialogue with Russia, but already with another Russian president.” he wrote. Unlike the majority of his Telegram posts, this one was written only in Ukrainian, without an accompanying English translation.
Zelensky has repeatedly rejected peace overtures from Moscow, most recently turning down Putin’s offer on Friday to resume negotiations. What made the offer a non-starter for Kyiv is that Putin refused to give up the regions that this week voted to join Russia.
“Only the path of strengthening Ukraine and expelling the occupiers from all our territory will restore peace.” Declared Zelensky in his address.
Zelensky also confirmed that Ukraine had submitted an accelerated application to join NATO on Friday, something he previously admitted would probably never happen. While Western media is described the move which “more symbolic than practical” the Ukrainian president seemed quite serious and claimed that Sweden and Finland could apply on a faster basis even without an action plan for membership and it was therefore only “equitable” that Ukraine does the same.
“De facto, we have already completed our path to NATO,” he said in another Telegram post. “De facto, we’ve already proven interoperability with alliance standards… We trust each other, we help each other, and we protect each other.”
Zelensky has previously acknowledged that Ukraine may struggle to secure the consent of all 30 NATO member nations, pressing instead of the so-called Kyiv Security Compact, which would force core NATO members to defend Ukraine “in case of aggression” while codifying the provision of bottomless military and economic aid as a stopgap measure.
Recognizing Ukraine would draw NATO into immediate confrontation with Russia, under Article 5 mutual defense provisions. While the United States has committed to “open door” politics when it comes to NATO, now is the wrong time to consider Ukraine’s membership application, President Joe Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan said Friday. The move would also make peace with Moscow impossible, as Putin has made clear since before the special military operation began in February that Ukraine must remain a neutral country under any circumstances.