War in Ukraine: Kiev will abandon negotiations with Moscow if its military in Mariupol is killed, assures Zelensky
Sylvie Claire / April 24, 2022
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called again Saturday for a meeting with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to end the war.
I think that whoever started this war will be able to end it, Zelensky said at a press conference inside a downtown Kiev metro station, repeating that he was not afraid to meet (Putin) if it would lead to a peace agreement between Russia and Ukraine.
I insisted from the beginning on negotiations with the Russian president, he recalled. And he added: It is not that I want (to meet him), it is that I must meet him in order to resolve this conflict through diplomatic means.
We have confidence in our partners, but there is no confidence with Russia, he said.
The Ukrainian president also warned that Kiev would abandon negotiations with Moscow if the Ukrainian military entrenched in the vast Azovstal metallurgical complex in Mariupol in southeast Ukraine are killed by the Russian army.
If our men are killed in Mariupol and if pseudo-referendums are held in the Kherson region (south), then Ukraine will withdraw from any negotiation process, he said.
He also said he was ready for an exchange of our military defending Mariupol, in any format, to get out these people who are in a horrible situation, surrounded.
Today is one of the hardest days since the beginning of the Russian siege on Mariupol in early March, he said.