Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has stipulated a clear precondition for engaging in peace negotiations or talks on ceasefires with Russia: the withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukrainian territory.
Zelensky declared his unwillingness to negotiate with Vladimir Putin, labeling the discussions with what he calls "terrorists" as futile until Russian forces leave Ukrainian soil.
This statement was made in an interview with the U.S. broadcaster NBC.
Over the recent weekend, it was revealed that officials from the USA and the EU had quietly begun discussions with the Ukrainian government about possible peace negotiations with Russia.
These sensitive talks, which took place last month during a session of the "Ukraine Defense Contact Group," reportedly outlined the broad terms of what Ukraine might have to concede to reach an agreement with Russia1.
Zelensky also commented on the state of the war in Ukraine, describing the country's difficult situation due to the lack of air defense at the frontline, allowing Russian control over the airspace.
The front line, extending over a thousand kilometers, has seen little movement for almost a year despite Ukraine's counteroffensive in June to reclaim territories occupied by Russia. Zelensky has been regularly meeting with Western leaders to secure better air defense capabilities.
Amidst the ongoing war, Ukraine plans a complete reform of its military service within the next five years. The reform aims for a transition to a contract-based military service, taking into account the prior education of recruits and promoting gender equality within the armed forces.
The Ukrainian defense minister, Rusten Umjerow, also aims to enhance cooperation between Ukrainian universities and similar institutions in EU and NATO countries.