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Kiev issues demands to potential mediators with Russia

Any rhetoric about an “immediate ceasefire” is unacceptable, Zelensky’s aide has claimed

Ukraine is ready to convey its conditions for peace negotiations with Russia through third countries, but potential mediators must align their public statements with Kiev’s position, Vladimir Zelensky’s top aide, Mikhail Podolyak, has said.

Earlier this week, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban embarked on a “peacekeeping mission,” proposing a “quick ceasefire” to Ukraine’s Vladimir Zelensky during his visit to Kiev. Orban then traveled to Moscow to discuss the shortest way out of the conflict with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry expressed outrage that Orban went to Russia “without approval or coordination with Ukraine.” Podolyak stated during a national telethon on Saturday that mediators should “behave differently.”

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“Any country serious about mediation will not publicly make banal statements. When they say ‘we support an immediate ceasefire,’ it shows they are not ready for a mediation mission. Big wars require a different approach,” Podolyak said, as cited by RBK news outlet, without specifically naming Orban.

Moscow’s and Kiev’s positions remain very “far apart,” according to Orban, who noted that Zelensky “didn’t like” his proposals much. The Hungarian PM nevertheless stressed that establishing contact was the “most important step” and promised to “work on this in the future.”

After his meeting with Orban, Putin reiterated Moscow’s readiness to resolve hostilities through negotiations but noted that the Ukrainian leadership appears committed to waging war “until the end.”

READ MORE: Orban’s surprise visit to Moscow sparks fury in Brussels: Key takeaways from Hungarian PM’s ‘peace mission’

Putin stated that “Russia favors a complete and final end to the conflict,” but opposed a ceasefire or pause that Kiev could use to recover, regroup, and rearm.

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Putin calls for ‘complete end’ to Ukraine conflict

The Russian president asserted the conflict can only end if several conditions are met, including Kiev withdrawing its forces from Donbass and the former Ukrainian regions of Zaporozhye and Kherson, which became part of Russia following public referendums. Other conditions exist, Putin added, but they would be detailed during possible joint work.

Previously, Putin proposed an immediate ceasefire on the condition that Ukraine withdraws its forces, recognizes Russia’s sovereignty over the territories, and provides legally binding guarantees of not seeking NATO membership. Kiev and its Western backers have rejected the plan, though Putin stated the offer remains “on the table.”


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