Ukrainian and Russian negotiators have met four times in recent weeks in an attempt to thrash out a deal. A diplomatic solution still seems some way off as the war approaches its fifth week and casualties continue to mount on both sides. Volodymyr Zelensky has hinted Kyiv could make a big concession to Moscow over its ambition to join NATO.
However, Mr Zelensky told the news website Public that any compromises negotiators agreed upon regarding the country’s security arrangements would have to be put to a popular vote.
Acknowledging that NATO members were too afraid to admit Ukraine into its organisation, the Ukraine President indicated that “other security guarantees” would have to be worked out.
He then added: “I explained to all negotiating groups; when you talk about all these changes, and they can be historic, we will not go anywhere, we will come to a referendum.
“The people will have to say and respond to certain formats of compromise.
“And what they will be. This is a matter of our conversation and understanding between Ukraine and Russia.
“Therefore, in any case, I am ready to do anything if my move is with our people.”
Currently the goal of full NATO membership is written into the Ukrainian constitution.
However, Vladimir Putin has insisted that Ukraine must never join the transatlantic military alliance and remain neutral.
The Russian President outlined a new list of demands for any prospective peace deal during talks last week with the Turkish head of state, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The Russian tyrant says Kyiv must additionally submit to a disarmament and “de-Nazification” process, as well as signing up to mutual security guarantees.
Furthermore, Ukraine must officially recognise the annexation of Crimea and the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics.
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Seasoned observers remain sceptical about the Kremlin’s real intentions vis-à-vis the peace talks.
A former Russian prime minister who served briefly under Putin claimed that Moscow was just playing for time and had no real desire to reach a settlement.
Michael Kasyanov told the BBC: “I think he will continue to oppress and increase the invasion.”
He added that he was “very worried… that something awful could happen in the battlefield”.