May 19, 2022

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Ukrainian lawmakers say Russian peace talks are not real

Ukrainian lawmakers say Russian peace talks are not real

“At this very moment, these peace negotiations are far from real,” Ivana Klimbusch Tsintsadze, who chairs Ukraine’s parliamentary committee on Ukraine’s EU integration, told a small group of journalists at a roundtable hosted by the German Marshall Fund. think tank.

“Sure, I think Putin is using this as a smokescreen, buying time to regroup… and sending false false messages to the whole world,” she said.

“We feel that these are not real peace talks at this stage,” said Representative Anastasia Radina, who chairs the parliament’s anti-corruption policy committee. “We feel that what Russia is doing is trying to save face. They say they are withdrawing troops from the Kyiv region. It is not true for one simple reason. They are not withdrawing… They have been expelled (outside).”

Radina said there was “only one way out of the war, and that is for Ukraine to win.”

Their comments came a day after the Russian Defense Ministry announced that it had decided to “significantly reduce hostilities” around Kyiv and Chernihiv. US officials, including President Joe Biden, remain skeptical of the announcement.

“We’ll see,” Biden said on Tuesday when asked about Russia’s allegations. “I don’t read anything in it until I see what their actions are. We’ll see if they follow through with what they suggest.”

More weapons are needed

The all-women Ukrainian delegation — men aged 18 to 60 not allowed to leave Ukraine amid the war — traveled to Washington this week primarily, they say, to demand more military support from U.S. lawmakers and administration officials, Which they said is still far below Ukraine’s needs.

“The appropriate action for Ukraine now, to support Ukraine at the moment, will be weapons,” Radina said. “Ukraine constantly demands weapons and not only defensive weapons, but also offensive weapons. In our case, this distinction between defense and attack is, frankly, insulting. In our case, all weapons are defensive because we are defending our territory.”

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Radina emphasized that Ukraine needs combat planes, “because that’s how we can actually stop the bombing… So far this is the issue on the table, and while it’s on the table, people will continue to suffer.”

“Our humanitarian assistance is weapons,” said Representative Maria Ionova. “Because to minimize casualties and casualties, we must defend our air. Freedom must be armed. That is why our main message here is Please, help us defend our future and the future of the democratic world.”

Neutrality is not an option for Ukraine

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has indicated that Ukraine may be willing to give up NATO membership and remain neutral if the West offers Ukraine strong security guarantees. But such a move should be subject to a referendum – and Klimbusch Tsinsadze has indicated that anything less than NATO membership should be rejected.

“Neutrality is not an option for Ukraine,” she said. “I want everyone to understand that we were impartial. We were a non-bloc country in 2014. That didn’t stop Putin from attacking us at that point. It didn’t stop him from seizing part of our land. It wouldn’t stop him. Even if we wrote on all the papers, everywhere , that we are neutral. He just isn’t interested in us being like that.”

Radina echoed those comments, saying that “absolute neutrality is not an option for Ukraine”, because Russia will always remain on the country’s borders and aims to “obliterate” Ukraine from the map.

“So yes, we are looking for viable security guarantees and not just another Budapest memorandum,” she said.

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The UK, US and Russia signed the memorandum – which was supposed to forbid those countries to use military force against Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan – in exchange for them giving up their nuclear weapons.

Zelensky said at the Munich Security Conference last month that Ukraine had “tried three times” since 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea, “to hold consultations with the guarantor states of the Budapest Memorandum. Three times to no avail.”