World, Russia-Ukraine War

Truce with Russia possible in 'near future,' says Ukrainian negotiator

Ukrainian official says talks can be held with more 'pragmatic approach' once Russia 'objectively assesses its losses'

Mustafa Deveci, Nazir Aliyev Tayfur   | 10.03.2022
Truce with Russia possible in 'near future,' says Ukrainian negotiator Head of the Ukraine president's office, Mikhail Podolyak

KYIV, Ukraine

A cease-fire between Ukraine and Russia could possibly be achieved in “the near future,” according to a Ukrainian official involved in negotiations between the two sides. 

“I believe the negotiation process will work out the optimal form of an agreement,” said Mikhail Podolyak who has been leading Ukraine’s delegation in talks with Russian officials.

“We will, in principle, come to a truce and a cease-fire, I think, in the near future,” Podolyak, an adviser to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, told Anadolu Agency in an interview in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv.

He said Moscow should recognize its lack of success in Ukraine and realize that “the war must end with the declaration of peace and … a cease-fire.”

Once Russia “objectively assesses its losses,” the two sides “can take a more pragmatic approach” in the negotiations, he added.

However, Podolyak said there are still some obstacles in the process, such as unreasonable Russian demands that are unacceptable for Ukraine.

“Ukrainians are not dying out on the battlefields for this. We have … hundreds of thousands of people who are defending their homes,” he said.

“Of course, with this heroism, Ukraine will definitely not accept the initial ultimatum ... presented by Russia. That is impossible in principle.”

To force Kyiv to give in to its demands, Moscow has changed tack and started brazenly targeting civilians and civilian targets, he said.

“Their primary tactic in the first few days of the war was to destroy military infrastructure, airports, airfields, military bases … (and) try to enter Kyiv to destroy the political leadership in order to dramatically weaken the country,” said Podolyak.

“Now the tactics have changed. They surround … large cities, towns, small towns … and are trying to create a lot of local humanitarian crisis centers throughout the country … to cause people to panic as much as possible.”

Russia is also trying to seize control of critical infrastructure facilities such as nuclear power plants, said Podolyak, adding that the aim there could be “to cause some damage, which will have not a local, but rather a global effect.”

To a question about a possible takeover of the Ukrainian capital, Podolyak said Russian forces will not be allowed to enter Kyiv.

“They will not be able to enter Kyiv with a ground operation. The mobilization in Ukraine is at the highest level, people want to defend their country and they will do it,” he asserted.

“But, I repeat again, the Russians are not waging war … they are fighting with the civilian population, not with the army. They do not know how to fight the army.”

- Turkiye’s ‘active’ mediation role

Podolyak hailed the commitment of the international community in trying to find a diplomatic solution.

“We are very pleased that we have international partners who are trying to take on a mediation mission" and Turkiye takes an active role in this regard, he said.

The meeting of the Ukrainian and Russian foreign ministers hosted by Turkiye gives Kyiv a chance to present “a more objective picture” to the Russian side, which could help “the negotiation process move … to some kind of compromise.”

*Writing by Seda Sevencan

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