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Zelenskyj demands serious and honest negotiations from Moscow

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged Russia to engage in serious and honest talks on a peace agreement. “Meaningful negotiations on Ukraine’s peace and security, honest negotiations without delay are the only chance for Russia to lessen the damage caused by its own mistakes,” Zelenskyy said in a video address on Friday night.

If Ukraine’s territorial integrity is not restored, Russia will suffer “serious losses.” “It is time to establish territorial unity and justice for Ukraine,” said the Ukrainian head of state. “Otherwise, Russia will suffer such losses that it will take generations to recover.”

[Alle aktuellen Nachrichten zum russischen Angriff auf die Ukraine bekommen Sie mit der Tagesspiegel-App live auf ihr Handy. Hier für Apple- und Android-Geräte herunterladen.]

Zelenskyy reiterated his call for direct talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin on a peace solution. “It’s time to talk,” he said. The Kremlin has so far rejected this, wanting to create content for such a meeting that corresponds to its own ideas in advance in the negotiations with kyiv.

Speaker of the Ukrainian Parliament Ruslan Stefanchuk once again emphasized that Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as its state independence, are and will remain the so-called red lines in the current peace negotiations with Russia.

These red lines are “immovable,” Stefantschuk emphasized Friday in an article on the Supreme Rada website. Therefore, there can be only one result: “This is our victory.” Stefantschuk is involved in the current negotiations with the enemy and the associated decision-making process.

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On the way to this “victory” one approaches the important points “step by step”. “We are moving in the right direction,” Stefantschuk wrote. But the Ukrainian people have already paid for their independence with the lives of many citizens. “And Russia is to blame for that.”

“It is important for us to restore security and receive guarantees for the safe functioning of our state,” Stefanchuk continued. Referring to Moscow’s demand for recognition of the breakaway areas, the self-proclaimed “People’s Republics” of Luhansk and Donetsk, he stressed that they are still within Ukraine’s internationally recognized borders.

“Imagine 14,000 corpses in this stadium”

Delegations from Moscow and kyiv have been negotiating a possible peace solution since February 28. According to Russian negotiator Vladimir Medinski, the “key issue” of Ukraine’s possible neutrality or NATO membership has come closer. However, there are still some open points, such as security guarantees for Ukraine. On the question of the “demilitarization” of Ukraine demanded by Moscow, they are “somewhere in the middle.”

In a new video speech on Saturday morning, Zelenskyy also reacted to Kremlin chief Putin’s appearance at Moscow’s Luzhniki stadium with a comparison of the figures for the Russian army’s invasion of Ukraine.

[Verfolgen Sie alle wichtigen Entwicklungen in unserem Liveblog.]

Almost 100,000 people in front of the stadium and 95,000 people in the stadium itself – this roughly corresponds to the number of Russian soldiers who invaded Ukraine, Zelenskyj said. “And now imagine 14,000 bodies in this stadium, plus tens of thousands of injured and maimed.” This corresponds to the losses of the Russian side since the beginning of the war.

Selenskyj used these figures, which cannot be independently verified, as an opportunity to once again demand an immediate cessation of hostilities. “The war must end, Ukraine’s proposals are on the table,” he was quoted as saying by Ukrajinska Pravda.

On Friday, in his first public appearance since invading Ukraine, Putin praised the Russian military for its “heroic” efforts. All plans will be implemented, Putin said in a speech before tens of thousands of people at the Luzhniki Stadium. The performance caused a stir, especially since the broadcast on state television was suddenly interrupted. Technical problems were later claimed. The reason for Putin’s appearance was the eighth anniversary of Russia’s annexation of the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea on March 18, 2014. (dpa)

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