The Ukrainian president has again expressed his government’s willingness to accept Russian demands of his country’s neutrality. According to the BBC,
In an interview with independent Russian journalists, Volodymyr Zelinsky said any such deal would have to be put to a referendum in Ukraine. He has made similar comments before, but rarely so forcefully.
The president’s comments preceded the peace talks in Turkey between Russia and Ukraine that resumed on Monday.
Yahoo News quotes Zelensky:
Security guarantees and neutrality, the nuclear-free status of our state, we are ready to go for it. This is the most important point. … It has been deeply worked through.
On Sunday, March 27th, Al-Arabiya reported that Russia had pointed to the neutrality status of Sweden and Austria as possible models for Ukraine. Kyiv, however, rejected the templates offered by Moscow, emphasising that “only Kyiv could design a system that would be acceptable to Ukrainians.”
The question of Ukrainian neutrality has centred on the country’s possible NATO membership. Reports Vox.com:
President Volodymyr Zelinskyy has acknowledged that Ukraine will not actually join NATO, and Ukrainian officials have indicated they’re open to discussing Ukraine’s status.
If Kyiv and Moscow can reach an agreement, it would bring an end to a war that started with the Russian invasion on February 24th. While reaffirming Ukrainian neutrality, an outcome presumably favouring Russian demands would allow for the reconstruction of Ukraine, but could also have unforeseen long-term consequences.