A serviceman walks through the village of Mala Rogan, east of Kharkiv, Ukraine A serviceman walks through the village of Mala Rogan, east of Kharkiv, Ukraine  (AFP or licensors)

Ukraine ready to discuss adopting neutral status

Ukraine’s President says the country is prepared to adopt a neutral status guaranteed by third parties and put to a referendum as the war continues into its second month.

By Vatican News staff writer

President Volodymyr Zelensky has said that Ukraine is prepared to discuss adopting a neutral status as part of a peace deal with Russia, but the deal would have to be guaranteed by third parties and put to a referendum.

“Security guarantees and neutrality, non-nuclear status of our state. We are ready to go for it. This is the most important point,” the Ukrainian president said while speaking to Russian Journalists on Sunday.

Conditions for peace deal

Zelensky said that a peace deal with Russia would not be possible without a ceasefire and the withdrawal of troops.

In this regard, he ruled out trying to recapture all Russian-held territory by force, noting that it would lead to a third world war. Rather, he said he wanted to reach a compromise over the eastern Donbas region which has been held by Russian-backed forces since 2014.

He further added that Russia’s invasion had caused the destruction of Russian-speaking cities in Ukraine, with damages worse than the Russian wars in Chechnya. He also noted that Ukraine was discussing the use of the Russian language in Ukraine in talks with Russia, but refused to discuss other demands, including the demilitarisation of Ukraine.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has now entered into its second month since it began on 24 February. The war has caused the death of hundreds of civilians according to conservative estimates, and has forced over 3.8 million people to flee the country.

EU interior ministers in refugee talks

Meanwhile, European Union interior ministers are meeting in Brussels on Monday to discuss a joint refugee policy as the fighting continues to displace millions of people from Ukraine.

A majority of the refugees have fled to neighbouring Poland, while hundreds of thousands have sought refuge in other neighbouring countries, including Romania, Slovakia, Moldova and Hungary.

The interior ministers are set to discuss a joint resettlement approach, as well as the creation of a fund to support the fleeing refugees, as the bloc continues to face the refugee influx caused by the war.

28 March 2022, 15:47