Ukraine’s foreign minster said the country’s negotiators will “not trade people, land and sovereignty” during peace talks with Russia this week.
“The President of Ukraine gave very clear instructions to our delegation. We do not trade people, land and sovereignty,” Dmytro Kuleba said on Ukrainian television late Monday.
“Our position is reinforced concrete,” the foreign minister continued.
The latest round of peace talks between Ukraine and Russia are set to start on Tuesday in Istanbul. At a bare minimum, Kuleba said Kyiv hoped during this week’s talks to reach agreements on humanitarian corridors and aid for the civilian population. But he also expressed hope that Moscow would be ready for a real peace agreement including a ceasefire.
“We are looking forward to the conversation of the two delegations to see if the Russians will come to these talks ready to really agree on something, or just repeat their demands, which were heard from the beginning,” Kuleba said.
“If we see that the mood has changed and they are ready for a serious, substantive conversation and balanced arrangements, then things will move forward. If it is a repetition of their propaganda stamps behind closed doors, then they will disperse in the same way as they did,” he added.
Kuleba also stressed that Kyiv’s delegation will not discuss internal matters such as demands by Moscow for Ukraine to hold a referendum on issues such as the status of Russian-occupied territories, foreign policy and Russian language rights.
“We will decide which referendum to hold or not; it is not the subject of negotiations,” Kuleba said.