This Happened Tonight: Zelensky Willing to Talk About ‘Neutral Status’ Ukraine | Abroad

Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelensky has said he will continue to look for a peace deal. In the coming week, Turkey will be the setting for talks with the Russians.

Zelensky reiterated yesterday in an interview with some independent Russian media that he is ready to talk about a “neutral status” for his country. That could mean that he renounces NATO membership. This is an important demand from Russian President Vladimir Putin. According to Zelensky, any neutrality of his country still has to be presented to the population. He would have to vote on it in a referendum.

Zelensky is also prepared to compromise on the status of the ‘people’s republics’ of Donbas and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine. Russia has always said that the ‘liberation’ of those regions is an important goal of the war. The ethnic Russians living there are said to be threatened or killed by the Ukrainians (‘genocide’). According to Ukraine and most of the international community, this is a fabricated accusation, designed solely to justify the invasion.

Two thousand children

Zelensky refuses to talk about a demilitarization of his country, he said in the interview. He also made the striking accusation that the Russians ‘stole’ 2,000 children from the besieged city of Mariupol. This would have happened during an evacuation of civilians. He provided no evidence for this. In the Russian state media, there is nothing to read about the statements of the Ukrainian president. The Kremlin banned its publication.

Ukraine also reported last night that Russia is withdrawing some of its troops. It would concern two battalions in the Kiev area. These would have been moved to the territory of Belarus, an ally of the Russians.

Ukraine counter-offensive

At the same time, reports are coming in about a counter-offensive by the Ukrainian army. Hundreds of Russian soldiers were said to have been killed, wounded or captured. A prime target of the Ukrainians would be the southern provincial capital of Kherson. The village of Tomyna Balka, about 30 kilometers from there, is said to have been taken yesterday.

The Kiev School of Economics has published an estimate of the damage the war has caused so far. This would include 57 billion euros in destroyed infrastructure. At least 4,431 residential buildings, 92 factories and 378 schools are said to have been damaged, destroyed or taken. The same goes for 12 airports and 7 power plants.

No regime change

US President Joe Biden caused a stir yesterday by suggesting that Vladimir Putin can no longer remain in power. He said this during his visit to the Polish capital Warsaw. It was striking, because the US had never talked about a regime changethe overthrow of a hostile government. However, Biden officials immediately rushed to declare that the president had not intended it that way. The president’s point was that Putin should not exercise power over his neighbors or the region. He was not talking about Putin’s power in Russia or about regime change.”

During Biden’s visit to Poland, the Russians also bombed the western city of Lviv. It is only 50 kilometers from the Polish border. A factory was hit (dark clouds of smoke could be seen over the city), but observers believe the attack was primarily intended to intimidate the US president and his Polish hosts.

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This Happened Tonight: Zelensky Willing to Talk About ‘Neutral Status’ Ukraine | Abroad
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