Putin not willing to compromise ahead of Ukraine peace talks: US official

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Russian President Vladimir Putin did not appear prepared to make any compromises ahead of the first face-to-face peace talks with Ukraine in two weeks, according to a senior US official.

Delegates of the two nations were set to meet Monday amid a changing battlefield, in which Ukrainian forces last week loosened Russia’s grip with a series of successful counterattacks outside Kyiv and Kherson.

“Everything I have seen is [Putin] is not willing to compromise at this point,” the senior US State Department official told Reuters.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Sunday told Russian journalists that he was willing to compromise on the issue of Ukrainian neutrality.

“Security guarantees and neutrality, non-nuclear status of our state — we are ready to go for it,” he said in Russian.

While details of the plan were hazy, Zelensky said any deal would be brokered by third parties and put to a referendum for Ukrainian voters. The president also made clear that any deal would require Russia to withdraw its troops from Ukraine.

Negotiations are set to begin Tuesday in Turkey, a NATO member state with close diplomatic ties to both Russia and Ukraine. It will be the first face-to-face meeting between the warring countries since March 10.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky Sunday told Russian journalists that he was willing to compromise on the issue of Ukrainian neutrality.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told Russian journalists on Sunday that he was willing to compromise on the issue of Ukrainian neutrality.
UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SERVICE
The two sides are expected to meet on March 28, 2022 in an attempt to end the bloody conflict between the two nations.
The two sides are expected to meet in an attempt to end the bloody conflict between the two nations.
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
A Ukrainian serviceman poses in front of what they say are destroyed military Russian vehicle and equipment in the village of Lukianivka on March 28, 2022.
A Ukrainian serviceman poses in front of what they say are destroyed Russian military vehicle and equipment in the village of Lukianivka on March 28, 2022.
REUTERS/Serhii Hudak
Ukraine's military says it has made territorial gains in the wider Kyiv region, after Russia's advance on the capital had largely stalled in recent weeks.
Ukraine’s military says it has made territorial gains in the wider Kyiv region, after Russia’s advance on the capital had largely stalled in recent weeks.
Anastasia Vlasova/Getty Images
A firefighter looks at a warehouse on fire after it was hit by the Russian artillery shelling, in Kharkiv on March 28, 2022.
A firefighter looks at a warehouse on fire after it was hit by the Russian artillery in Kharkiv on March 28, 2022.
EPA/ROMAN PILIPEY
Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city of 1.5 million people, which lies about 25 miles from the Russian border, has been heavily shelled by Russian forces over the past weeks.
Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city of 1.5 million people, which lies about 25 miles from the Russian border, has been heavily shelled by Russian forces over the past weeks.
EPAEPA/ROMAN PILIPEY
A destroyed building is seen after shelling in Chernihiv, Ukraine on March 27, 2022.
A destroyed building after shelling in Chernihiv, Ukraine, on March 27, 2022.
EPA/NATALIIA DUBROVSKA
A Ukrainian serviceman buries the remains of what he says is a dead body of a Russian soldier in the village of Lukianivka that was recently reclaimed by Ukrainian Armed Forces.
A Ukrainian serviceman buries the remains of what he says is the body of a Russian soldier in the village of Lukianivka, which was recently reclaimed by Ukrainian armed forces.
REUTERS/Serhii Hudak
A map showing the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
A map showing the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Negotiations are set to begin Tuesday in Turkey, a NATO member state with close diplomatic ties to both Russia and Ukraine. It will be the first meeting face-to-face between the warring countries since March 10, 2022.
Negotiations are set to begin Tuesday in Turkey, a NATO member state with close diplomatic ties to both Russia and Ukraine. It will be the first meeting face-to-face between the warring countries since March 10, 2022.
EPA/MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV / KREMLIN / SPUTNIK / POOL

While Ukraine has retaken strategic territory around the capital city and the Crimean peninsula, Russian forces continue to pummel the southern port city of Mariupol, where street-by-street fighting has broken out after weeks of heavy bombardment.

And as the Russians signal a shift in their priorities toward the separatist-held regions of the Donbas in the east, Zelensky said they are returning to some of the brutal tactics borne of the fighting that began there in 2014.

“They are kidnapping the mayors of our cities,” Zelensky told the Economist in an interview Sunday. “They killed some of them. Some of them we can’t find. Some of them we have found already, and they are dead.”

With Post wires



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