The Ukrainian delegation participating in talks with Russia “understands the motives” of the Russian Federation in Ukraine, an adviser to the head of the Ukrainian presidential office said Friday, adding that while the Ukrainian side is aware of “where [Russia] wants to go,” concessions won’t be made on Ukraine’s territorial integrity.
Speaking during a press briefing in the Ukrainian city of Lviv, Mykhailo Podoliak said that Ukraine’s position is being “boosted” by western partners, adding that President Volodymyr Zelensky “is definitely not going to make any concessions that would diminish our territorial integrity and freedom. “
“The position of the Russian Federation is harsh — if it were easy, they wouldn’t attack Ukraine — but the position of the Ukrainian Chief of the Armed Forces is also harsh. The negotiations are difficult but they are taking place,” Podoliak added.
The press briefing comes a day after the second round of talks between the Ukrainian and Russian delegations in Belarus. In a tweet on Thursday, Podoliak said the talks did not deliver the results sought by Ukraine, though the delegations were able to reach a “solution only for the organization of humanitarian corridors.”
Speaking on Friday, David Arakhamia — a senior official of Ukraine’s governing party who also participated in the talks — said that Zelensky has not made an official request for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, adding that it remains “too early” and that further negotiations are needed before they speak.
Arakhamia also noted that Russia is facing increased “pressure” from the wider international community over attacks by Russian forces on civilian areas in Ukraine.
Pressed on Russia’s attack on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, Arakhamia said that Ukrainian negotiators suggested a 30-kilometer conflict-free zone around all nuclear facilities in Ukraine during talks on Thursday, “and then immediately Zap happened.”