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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.