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War in Ukraine: Ukrainian presidential advisor says Zelensky is ‘ready’ to talk to Putin

War in Ukraine: Ukrainian presidential advisor says Zelensky is ‘ready’ to talk to Putin

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Issued on: 18/03/2022 – 17:40Modified: 18/03/2022 – 17:42



Igor Zhovkva is the deputy head of the office of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and also his chief diplomatic adviser. In an interview with FRANCE 24, Zhovkva underlined Zelensky’s willingness to talk to Russian President Vladimir Putin in a bid to end the war in Ukraine, but stressed that Russia had until now rejected such an offer. Zhovkva also said that Ukraine wants “guarantees” from the United States and major European powers regarding its future security.

Igor Zhovkva told FRANCE 24 that some 130 civilians were rescued from a theatre bombed by Russian forces in the eastern city of Mariupol. However, he feared there could still be many casualties, with “several hundred people” possibly still trapped.

Zhovkva said that talks between the warring sides were continuing and rejected the Kremlin’s claim that Kyiv was dragging its feet. He insisted that Ukraine was fully committed to negotiating. He added that President Volodymyr Zelensky was “ready” to talk directly to Russian President Vladimir Putin, but that Russia had until now rejected such an offer. He stressed that the first step needed to be a ceasefire, but that unfortunately Russian bombing and shelling was continuing. 

Zhovkva told FRANCE 24 that Ukraine was seeking “security guarantees” from the US and major European powers, noting that the guarantees granted to his country back in 1994 had been ignored by Russia and that there was no way this could be repeated.

With regards to Crimea and the self-proclaimed Russian-controlled territories in the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, he insisted that they were part of Ukraine. Zhovkva refused to specify whether greater autonomy could be granted to those areas.

Finally, while he said Kyiv was “disappointed” at NATO’s opposition to a no-fly zone over Ukraine, Zhovkva said that the supply of sophisticated anti-missile systems and even fighter jets was still on the table.

© Studio graphique France Médias Monde

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