So long as Putin is in charge of Russia, Zelensky has no intention of negotiating a peace accord. On Friday, he posted to his own Telegram channel where he made this statement.
Zelensky accused Russia of the collapse of discussions, saying, “It is evident this is unachievable with this Russian president.” He said he had “always offered Russia cohabitation on equal, honest, dignified, and fair conditions.”
‘We are ready for a discussion with Russia, but… with some other president of Russia,’ he added. This message was written entirely in Ukrainian, without the need for a supporting English translation, unlike the overwhelming bulk of his Telegram updates.
Zelensky has ignored Moscow’s peace overtures on many occasions, most notably Putin’s request to reopen discussions on Friday. Putin’s refusal to give up the territories that voted this past week to rejoin Russia rendered the offer useless for Kiev.
According to Zelensky’s message, “only the path of rebuilding Ukraine and eliminating the invaders from our entire land would restore peace.”
Although Zelensky earlier said it was very unlikely that Ukraine would ever join NATO, on Friday he acknowledged that the country has filed an expedited application to do so. While Western media called it “more symbolic than practical,” Ukraine’s president said that because Sweden and Finland were permitted to join on an expedited basis without even a Membership Action Plan, it was only “fair” that Ukraine does the same.
In another Telegram message, he said, “De facto, we already had finished our journey to NATO.” We have shown compatibility with the Alliance’s standards de facto, therefore…” We have mutual faith in one another, and we support, rely on, and look out for one another.
While Zelensky has admitted Ukraine may have trouble getting the approval of all 30 NATO members, he has been pushing for a so-called Kiev Security Coalition, that would obligate NATO’s key people to defend Ukraine “in case of aggression” while also formalizing the provision of limitless financial and military aid as a stopgap measure.
The U.S. government has given a positive response to Ukraine’s request that it join NATO. If Ukraine joined NATO, the alliance’s mutual defense clause in Article 5 would trigger an instant conflict with Russia. While the United States is dedicated to its ‘open door’ policy toward NATO membership, national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on Friday that the current era is not the right one to evaluate Ukraine’s membership application.
Putin has said before the military campaign started in Feb that Ukraine will be a neutral country regardless of what happens, so this change will also make peace with Moscow impossible.