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Zelensky rules out giving away Ukrainian territory in return for peace

by The Kyiv Independent news desk August 20, 2023 9:04 PM 1 min read
President Volodymyr Zelensky, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, and the Royal Netherlands Air Force Chief André Steur after inspecting two F-16 fighter jets at the air base in Eindhoven on Aug. 20. (Photo: President's Office)
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Ukraine will not consider giving away part of the country's territory to Russia in some kind of "exchange” as a part of a potential peace deal, president Volodymyr Zelensky said during a press conference with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte on Aug. 20 in Eindhoven.

In Zelensky's words, negotiations with the Kremlin can only take place on the basis of the peace plan earlier proposed by Ukraine.

“We've indicated how we see the peace (with Russia) and are ready for an open discussion,” said Zelensky, who added that a peace agreement is possible only if Ukraine fully restores the country's territorial integrity, including Donbas region and Crimean peninsula.

Zelensky, as well as other top Ukrainian officials, reacted with indignation after Stian Jenssen, chief of staff of NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, floated the idea of Ukraine giving up some of its currently occupied territory in exchange for joining the NATO alliance.

Jenssen later walked back on his statements, which contradict public Western consensus which continues to back a peace formula based on full respect for Ukrainian sovereignty, as was discussed in recent international talks in Saudi Arabia.

Why Ukraine chooses to negotiate on the battlefield, not at peace talks
When Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky proposed his 10-point peace plan to G20 leaders in Bali on Nov. 15, he had only recently returned from a historic visit to Kherson, the liberation of which marks another great step towards the return of all Russian-occupied territory. Touching on factors…
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