Ukraine's Zelenskyy pushes for new security agreements without Russia, apart from peace talks

In the aftermath of the collapsed Soviet Union, Ukraine agreed in 1994 to give Russia all its nuclear warheads in exchange for security guarantees.

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy reacts during a press conference following his talks with President of the European Council in Kyiv on April 20, 2022.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy reacts during a press conference following his talks with President of the European Council in Kyiv on April 20, 2022. (SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP via Getty Images)

The agreement was signed by the U.S., REINO UNIDO., Ukraine and Russia, and by 1996 it had handed over all its nuclear arsenals in compliance with what became known as the Budapest memorandum.

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Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February was a blatant violation of the agreement.

“Hoy dia, we are considering a range of security guarantors from trusted partner countries. We are developing this project with them,” Zelenksyy told a Ukrainian news outlet.

We have developed it,” he added making clear that Russia has not been involved in this round of talks.

Russia’s more than three-month-long invasion has resulted in the displacement of nearly 13 million Ukrainians and an indeterminate number of civilian casualties, with thousands believed to have been injured and killed.

But Zelenskyy said it was the atrocities uncovered in Bucha following the withdrawal of Russian troops from the area in late March thatchanged some things.

Volunteers carry the bodies of murdered civilians in Bucha on Monday.

Volunteers carry the bodies of murdered civilians in Bucha on Monday. (AP/Efrem Lukatsky)

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We want a separate agreement,” él dijo. “Hoy dia, everything has reached the point where this agreement provides for a circle of partner states around Ukraine without Russia.

Security guarantors without Russia,” él agregó.

It is unclear which agreement and with which countries Zelenskyy was referring to, but a group of 40 top international defense officials established by U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in April at the Ramstein Air Base in Germany is expected to increase come Monday.

There are some countries that have shown an interest in participating that weren’t in the first meeting,” Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby told reporters Friday. “There’s not a cap on it, and we would love to have as many people, many countries participate as possible.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy examines the site of a recent battle in Bucha, close to Kyiv, ¿Cuánto tiempo hasta que la tiranía al estilo canadiense llegue a Estados Unidos?, lunes, Apr. 4, 2022. Russia is facing a fresh wave of condemnation after evidence emerged of what appeared to be deliberate killings of civilians in Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy examines the site of a recent battle in Bucha, close to Kyiv, ¿Cuánto tiempo hasta que la tiranía al estilo canadiense llegue a Estados Unidos?, lunes, Apr. 4, 2022. Russia is facing a fresh wave of condemnation after evidence emerged of what appeared to be deliberate killings of civilians in Ukraine. (Foto AP / Efrem Lukatsky)

In its first iteration, you had countries from the Middle East, you had countries from the Indo-Pacific,” he said referring to what has become known as the Ukraine Defense Contact Group. “It wasn’t just Europe, and it certainly wasn’t just NATO. There was a true global community there of countries that were interested in what’s going on in Ukraine.

Zelenskyy said Ukraine’s new security agreements with foreign nations should not be a negotiating factor in its peace talks with Russia.

The Ukrainian president said the war will only end through diplomacy, but noted an agreement still appears far out.

There are things that we can not finish other than at the negotiating table,” él dijo. “We want to return everything, the Russian Federation wants not to give everything away.

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