Zelenskyy says there are ‘compromises’ related to ‘our sovereignty’ that Ukraine can’t make in negotiations with Putin

  • Zelenskyy says Ukraine cannot make “compromises related to our territorial integrity” with Russia. 
  • He told CNN that Russia “cannot curry favor with the citizens of another country forcibly.” 
  • The Ukrainian president has said he is ready for negotiations with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said there are some compromises he is unwilling to make in negotiations with Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

“There are compromises for which we cannot be ready as an independent state,” Zelenskyy said on CNN. “Any compromises related to our territorial integrity and our sovereignty, and the Ukrainian people have spoken about it. They have not greeted Russian soldiers with a bunch of flowers. They have greeted them with bravery. They have greeted them with weapons in their hands.” 

Putin’s demands for ending the war in Ukraine include assurance from Ukraine that it will remain neutral and not seek to join NATO, which Zelenskyy conceded.  Ukraine launched its bid to join NATO back in 2008. In 2014, after a pro-Russian president was ousted in Ukraine, Putin invaded and annexed Crimea. The Kremlin also began supporting rebels in a war in eastern Ukraine in 2014.

The more challenging demands involve the status of Crimea and the Donbas region. Crimea has been occupied by Russia since 2014 and Donetsk and Luhansk — two separatist regions in the Donbas — have been recognized by Russia as independent states.

Putin has consistently railed against Ukraine’s efforts to become part of NATO, presenting it as an existential threat to Russia. On Sunday, Zelenskyy said that if Ukraine had been a member of NATO, Russia would not have attacked.

Zelenskyy has continued to call for peace talks but has remained steady in his priorities, including ending the war, as well as “security guarantees, sovereignty, restoration of territorial integrity.”

Zelenskyy told CNN Russia “cannot curry favor with the citizens of another country forcibly.” 

“You cannot just make a president of another country to recognize anything by the use of force,” Zelenskyy said. 

The Ukrainian president has warned that if peace talks fail, it “would mean that this is a third World War,” Insider’s John Dorman reported

His comments come amid the news that US President Joe Biden will travel to Europe for an emergency NATO meeting on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The US president is not expected to visit Ukraine during the trip.