War in Ukraine | Selenskyj wants to meet with Putin, Blinken and Austin in Kyiv on Sunday





(Kyiv) Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called again on Saturday to meet his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin “to end the war”.

Posted at 1:13 p.m
Updated at 2:53 p.m

“I think whoever started this war can end it,” Mr. Zelenskyy said at a press conference in a metro station in downtown Kyiv, repeating that “he wasn’t afraid to meet” ( Mr. Putin) if it would lead to a peace agreement between Russia and Ukraine.

“I insisted on negotiations with the Russian president from the beginning,” he recalled. And to add: “It’s not that I want to meet him, it’s that I have to meet him in order to resolve this conflict through diplomatic channels”.

“We trust our partners, but there is no trust in Russia,” he said.

The Ukrainian president also warned that if the Ukrainian soldiers holed up in the huge Azovstal metallurgical complex in Mariupol, southeastern Ukraine, were killed by the Russian army, Kyiv would break off negotiations with Moscow.

“If our men are killed in Mariupol and if pseudo-referendums are organized in the Kherson region (south, ed.), Ukraine will withdraw from any negotiation process,” he said.

Ready to exchange military

He also said he was “ready” for “an exchange of our soldiers defending Mariupol” in “any format” to extract “these people who are in a terrible situation, surrounded”.

He specified that “the last contact” with the soldiers holed up in the underground passages of the huge Azovstal factory was “an hour ago”.

“Today is one of the toughest days” since the Russian siege of Mariupol began in early March, he said.

Blinken tour on Sunday

The head of American diplomacy, Antony Blinken, will visit Kyiv on Sunday, the Ukrainian president also announced on Saturday, two months to the day exactly two months after the start of the Russian invasion.

“Tomorrow US officials will come to us: I will meet Secretary of Defense (Lloyd Austin) and Antony Blinken,” Zelenskyy said at a press conference in a subway station in Kyiv’s central square. This is the first official visit by US government officials to Ukraine since February 24.

“Illogical” decision by Guterres

The Ukrainian President condemned UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ “illogical” decision to visit Moscow on Tuesday, two days before his departure for Kyiv.

“It’s just wrong to go to Russia first and then to Ukraine,” he told a news conference at a metro station in Kyiv’s central square. “There is no justice and no logic in that order,” he lamented.

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