Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said that Ukraine is prepared to adopt a neutral status in exchange for peace in their country. However, during the interview with independent journalists from Russia, he also said that such a move would require a referendum and has to be guaranteed by third parties.

“Security guarantees and neutrality, non-nuclear status of our state. We are ready to go for it. This is the most important point,” Zelensky said during the 90-minute video call. “It was the main point for the Russian Federation as far as I can remember and, if I remember correctly, this is why they started the war.”

According to him, Ukraine’s main goal was to end the war as quickly as possible due to the sheer destruction and casualties it had caused on Ukrainian soil. Furthermore, he said that the neutrality clause was on the table provided that it would be discussed face-to-face with Russian President Vladimir Putin himself to ensure that security guarantees are in place so that they could not attack Ukraine anymore. Furthermore, he said that a ceasefire and troop withdrawals were required for the peace deal.

“We have to come to an agreement with the President of the Russian Federation. But to reach an agreement, he has to get up from where he is and come and meet me,” he demanded.

“Guarantors will not sign anything if the [Russian] troops are in Ukraine. Why do I think this war can be finished quickly, and the only person that prolongs it is Putin and those who surround him?” Zelensky explained. “Because no guarantor… [British Prime Minister] Johnson, [President] Biden? Who will sit down for talks? Who will sit? [Turkish President Tayyip] Erdogan? Who will sit down for talks if the Russian troops are here? Who will sign anything? Nobody.”

In the same interview, Zelensky also ruled out trying to recapture Russian captured areas and territories by force, fearing that it would cause World War III. Instead, he wanted to reach a compromise on the situation, particularly in Russian-held Donbas, where the Russians previously said that they were to focus on the “complete liberation” of the region.

Zelensky speakign with Russian journalists during an interview (Screenshot from The Sun). Source:
Zelensky speaking with Russian journalists during an interview (Screenshot from The Sun)

“I understand it’s impossible to force Russia completely from Ukrainian territory. It would lead to a Third World War,” he said. “I understand it, and that is why I am talking about a compromise. Go back to where it all began, and then we will try to solve the Donbas issue. The complicated Donbas issue,” Zelensky proposed.