Accusing the West of leaving Ukraine to face Moscow alone, President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Friday he was not afraid to negotiate the country’s neutral status but would need security guarantees from other countries to do this.
Speaking in the early hours of the morning from Kiev, Zelensky said he had reached out to “partners” in the West to tell them that Ukraine’s fate was at stake.
“I asked them – are you with us? They answered that they are with us, but they don’t want to take us into the alliance. I’ve asked 27 leaders of Europe if Ukraine will be in NATO, I’ve asked them directly – all are afraid and did not respond,” he stated.
He also claimed that he has information, “the enemy marked” him “as a target #1” and his family “as a target #2,” as if to destroy political regime it is necessary to destroy him directly. However, he stressed he is not a traitor to leave the city, so he and his family stay but the family is put to a secret location, while he stays in the administrative area.
Zelensky also proceeded to say Ukraine is not afraid to speak with Russia about security guarantees and Ukraine’s neutral status, though he hesitated to do so asking what countries and what guarantees can provide for Ukraine to make this step.
In the end, desperately trying to put the blame on NATO, Zelensky noted that there is no country ready to fight on his side.
“We are left alone. Who is ready to fight on our side? Honestly? I don’t see anybody. Who is ready to give Ukraine guarantees of NATO membership? Honestly, everybody is afraid,” he concluded.
In response, Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said that “neutral status and rejection of hosting [offensive] weapons systems” are Putin’s “red lines” for Ukraine and that the ball was now in Kiev’s court. According to him, Moscow is willing to negotiate terms of surrender with Kiev.
Peskov said that Russian President Vladimir Putin has expressed his preparedness to engage in discussions with his Ukrainian counterpart, with a focus on obtaining a guarantee of neutral status and the promise of no weapons on its territory. This would enable the achievement of the demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine, and eliminate what Russia currently views as a threat to the security of its state and people.
The press secretary added that Putin would determine the timing of the negotiations, but gave assurances that Russia would only engage “if the leadership of Ukraine is ready to talk about it.”
“The operation has its goals – they must be achieved. The president said that all decisions have been made, and the goals will be achieved,” Peskov continued, suggesting that, if Kiev were to agree to meet the demands, the current attack could be called off.