Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov sees hope of ‘compromise’ with Kyiv as Zelenskyy signals NATO change – POLITICO

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said there was “some hope of reaching a compromise” in talks to end Moscow’s war with Ukraine, adding that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy had recently raised some “interesting statement.”

Lavrov’s comment, made in an hour interview with Russia’s RBC TV channel on Wednesday morning, coming after Zelenskyy acknowledged his country would not be allowed to join NATO, before saying that his aides had made the stand during the talks Peace talks between Ukrainian and Russian negotiators “sound more realistic.”

Foreign Minister Lavrov told Kremlin-friendly RBC on Wednesday that “it is a more realistic assessment from President Zelenskyy”, noting that “the rhetoric has changed”.

On Tuesday, a frustrated Zelenskyy said, in a video call with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and representatives from Countries of the Joint Expeditionary Force in the Baltics and Northern Europe, that Ukraine is unlikely to join NATO.

“Of course, Ukraine is not a member of NATO,” Zelenskyy said. “For many years we have heard of the door that was supposed to be open, but now we have also heard that we cannot enter. This is true, and it must be acknowledged”.

That seems to suggest something open to concessions to the Kremlin’s key demand that Kyiv return to the alliance’s goal of joining, enshrined in Ukraine’s constitution. Moscow is also demanding that Kyiv recognize Russia’s sovereignty over Crimea, which it annexed from Ukraine in 2014, and the independence of the so-called Luhansk and Donetsk People’s Republics, which Kremlin-backed separatists have declared the same year.

In one videotapes posted to social media just after 1 a.m. Kyiv time on Wednesday, Zelenskyy said “any war ends with a deal.” He said “we all want peace, the sooner the better,” but added that “it still takes time for decisions in Ukraine’s favour.”

In an interview with RBC, Foreign Minister Lavrov said that NATO’s rejection of Kyiv’s request to shut down Ukraine’s skies showed there were still “sane people” in the alliance and “welcomed” the current situation. He reiterated previous comments by Russian President Vladimir Putin that Moscow is ready to “seek any other way to ensure the security of Ukraine, European countries and, of course, the Russian Federation, except to NATO expands eastward. However, Lavrov added that Russia continues to seek to fully demilitarize Ukraine.

Adviser Zelenskyy Mykhailo Podolyak, a member of the Ukrainian delegation to the peace talks, said in an update on Twitter on Tuesday that “there is certainly room for compromise” in the negotiations. But he added Wednesday that Ukraine had launched counter-attacks against Russian forces, and that their success had “completely changed the course of the parties”.

The comments came as Putin’s war entered its 21st day, but with little sign of significant gains – despite Ukrainian cities continuing to come under Russian shelling.

But despite some optimism that both sides appear to be suggesting a peace deal may be near, with talks set to resume on Wednesday, there is no sign of a breakthrough coming. happening. Putin held a call with European Council President Charles Michel on Tuesday, and the Kremlin later issued a declare warns: “Kyiv has not demonstrated a serious commitment to finding mutually acceptable solutions.”

In a speech on Tuesday to the leaders of the UK and the Expeditionary Force, Zelenskyy warned that other countries bordering Russia should consider their “independent defense capabilities”. He also added: “We are doing our best to get jet fighters and missile defense systems. We need some new format, if we can’t import [NATO’s] open, then we have to partner with platforms and unions that allow us to do so.”

On Tuesday, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala and Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša – some of the leading Ukraine advocates in the EU – traveled to Kyiv to meet Zelenskyy and his Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal.

In her late-night video, Zelenskyy thanked the leaders for coming, saying: “This is important support. When our Kyiv is the target of aggressors, it is especially important and especially courageous to be here, beside me, beside friends. That is how leadership is demonstrated.”

And he made an open invitation for other leaders to follow suit.

“I invite all friends of Ukraine to visit Kyiv,” Zelenskyy said. “It can be dangerous here, it’s true. Because our skies are not yet closed to Russian missiles and planes. The decision to strengthen our arsenal in the air has not yet been taken. We did not receive the plane,” he added, referring to back and forth between Ukraine and the US, EU and Poland on the supply of fighter aircraft to Kyiv.

Slovenia’s Janez Janša told POLITICO that the situation was “really difficult for the Ukrainians,” and said leaders discussed efforts to strengthen sanctions, and heard “many opinions” authentication” on how to do so. They also talked about increasing humanitarian and other aid, accelerating and increasing the supply of military equipment, as well as speeding up the procedures for Ukraine’s candidacy to join the EU, Janna said.

Lili Bayer contributed to this report. Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov sees hope of 'compromise' with Kyiv as Zelenskyy signals NATO change - POLITICO

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