Ukraine’s Zelensky sets conditions for ‘genuine’ peace talks with Russia

By | November 8, 2022

The Wall Street Journal reports:

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he was open to negotiations with Russia if they are focused on safeguarding Ukraine’s territorial integrity, compensating Kyiv and bringing to justice perpetrators of war crimes.

Speaking ahead of his address to a global climate summit in Egypt on Tuesday, Mr. Zelensky said late Monday: “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.”

Mr. Zelensky’s statement comes after the U.S., Ukraine’s key backer in its defense against Russia’s invasion, has urged Kyiv to publicly signal that it is open to talks with Moscow, to avoid alienating international opinion.

“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,” Mr. Zelensky said. “Those are completely understandable conditions.”

U.S. officials have said it is up to Ukraine to define the terms of any acceptable settlement. Many Western officials are skeptical that Russian President Vladimir Putin will be open soon to a settlement that involves Russian withdrawal from occupied regions of Ukraine—a key demand for Kyiv.

Since Mr. Putin said in late September that swaths of Ukraine’s east and south belonged to Russia, Kyiv has said it wouldn’t negotiate with Moscow until there is a different leader in the Kremlin. Mr. Putin’s insistence that Russia’s territorial demands are nonnegotiable, meanwhile, appears to leave little scope for talks at present. [Continue reading…]