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President Zelensky: Only diplomacy can end the war

President Zelensky: Only diplomacy can end the war - Photo 1.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky – Photo: REUTERS

“Victory will be decided on the battlefield, but to end the war must certainly be diplomacy,” Zelensky was quoted as saying by the Ukrinform news agency. “Discussions between Russia and Ukraine will definitely take place, in what form I do not know, whether through mediation or not, in a larger group or at the presidential level,” he added.

“There are things that can only be achieved on the negotiating table,” Zelensky stressed. However, he stressed that the outcome of the negotiations must be “fair” with Kiev, referring to the guarantee of security for Ukraine by “friends and partners” of Kiev. Zelensky also reiterated the condition of the negotiations that Russia did not harm Ukrainian soldiers entrenched at the Azovstal Steel Plant in Mariupol.

The Russia-Ukraine dialogue is still at a standstill with the most recent talks taking place on April 22. On May 17, Ukraine’s negotiator Mykhailo Podolyak said the discussions had been suspended while Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Rudenko said that Kiev had withdrawn from the negotiations.

However, in the following statement on May 19, Mr. Rudenko said that Russia is ready to return to negotiations if Ukraine does the same. “As soon as they show a willingness to return to the negotiating table, we will respond positively. It is important to have something to discuss,” Mr. Rudenko was quoted as saying by Tass news agency.

President Zelensky: Only diplomacy can end the war - Photo 2.

Ukrainian soldiers are taken out of the Azovstal Steel Plant on May 20 – Photo: REUTERS

On the ground, Russia claimed to have complete control of Mariupol after the last 531 soldiers at the Azovstal Steel Plant surrendered on May 20, local time. “The Azovstal Steel Plant area has been completely liberated,” the Russian Defense Ministry confirmed. The Ukrainian side has not yet commented on this.

Russia besieged this factory from April 21, and on May 20, Ukraine ordered all soldiers at the factory to drop their weapons.

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