Zelensky’s talks with other leaders signal diplomatic unrest over Ukraine
KYIV, Dec 12 (Reuters) – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy held talks with U.S. President Joe Biden and the leaders of Turkey and France on Sunday, stepping up diplomatic activity over the war launched by Russia, which is now in its 10th month.
“We are constantly working with partners,” Zelensky said in his evening video address, adding that he expects some “important results” next week from a series of international events that will address the situation in Ukraine.
While Zelensky has held numerous talks with Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan since Russian forces invaded in late February, cramming discussions into just one day is not a regular occurrence.
Zelensky he said had thanked Biden about the “unprecedented defense and financial” aid that the US has provided to Ukraine and talked with the US president about effective air defense systems to protect the population.
Earlier, Zelensky said he had a “very substantive” conversation with Macron on “defense, energy, economy, diplomacy” that lasted more than an hour, and “very specific” talks with Erdogan about guaranteeing Ukraine’s grain exports.
Turkey, which acted as a mediator in peace talks in the early months of the war, also worked alongside the United Nations in the grain deal that opened Ukrainian ports to exports in July after a six-month de facto Russian blockade.
Erdogan’s office said the Turkish leader had a conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday in which he called for a quick end to the conflict.
Last week, Putin said that Moscow almost total loss of confidence in the West would make an eventual settlement in Ukraine much more difficult to achieve and warned of a continuous war.
Macron has supported diplomacy in the conflict, but his mixed messages that Kiev must decide when to negotiate with Moscow, but also that security guarantees are needed for Russia, nervous some Western allies, Kiev and the Baltic countries.
There are no peace talks and no end in sight to Europe’s deadliest conflict since World War II, which Moscow calls a “special military operation” and Ukraine and its allies call an unprovoked act of aggression.
Moscow shows no signs that he is ready to respect Ukraine’s sovereignty and pre-war borders, saying the four regions it claims were annexed by Ukraine in September are part of Russia “forever”. The government in Kiev has ruled out ceding any land to Russia in exchange for peace.
On the territory of Ukraine, the entire eastern front line is continuous shellfish as heavy battles are fought. Moscow has also targeted Ukraine’s energy infrastructure with waves of missile strikes and drone strikes, sometimes cutting power to millions of civilians during the winter, when average temperatures can be several degrees below zero.
Reporting by Nick Starkov in Kyiv; Additional reporting by Ronald Popeski in Winnipeg, Canada; Writing by Lydia Kelly; edited by Grant McCool
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