Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has told Russian journalists Ukraine is willing to discuss adopting a neutral status between the West and Russia to end the war. Neutrality would mean that Ukraine could not join the Western military alliance NATO.
Zelensky said the proposal would have to be approved by the Ukrainian people in a referendum. He ruled out discussing “demilitarisation”, which Russian President Vladimir Putin has listed as a demand.
In a lengthy interview with independent Russian media outlets, Zelensky, who spoke in Russian, said Ukraine would consider “security guarantees and neutrality [and] non-nuclear status of our state. We are ready to go for it. This is the most important point”.
Earlier this month, Zelensky said despite years of “an apparently open door” to join NATO it was clear the West was not following through on admitting Ukraine.
The War Continues
The comments come as Russia increases shelling on the western city of Lviv, which had previously been relatively free from attack. Ukrainian officials have also accused Russia of forcibly removing thousands of civilians from Mariupol, where residents have been exposed to heavy Russian attacks without access to water, electricity, or humanitarian aid.
The UK Ministry of Defence, which has been publishing regular updates on the conflict, says Russia now maintains a distant blockade of Ukraine’s entire coastline.