According to Viktor Yushchenko, the West originally pressured Zelensky into talks with Moscow.
According to the country’s previous president, Viktor Yushchenko, European leaders first pushed Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky toward peace talks with Russia but eventually reversed their stance.
“I will not name any names, but presidents and prime ministers were arriving from Europe in groups with one message for President Zelensky: ‘Sit at the negotiating table, and we will figure something out later,’” Yushchenko, who governed Ukraine from 2005 to 2010, told newspaper Ukrainska Pravda last Thursday.
Yushchenko stated that once Ukraine accused Russian troops of committing war crimes in Bucha and other villages outside of Kiev in the spring, the tone changed drastically.
“But after seeing Bucha, Gostomel, they began to understand that the Ukrainian people will not grant the authorities permission … to sit down for negotiations and say, ‘Let’s pay for the peace with some part of the national sovereign territory.’ No one would even have such an idea!”
Late in February, Russia began its military campaign in the neighboring nation, seizing huge areas of territory in southern Ukraine and progressively driving Ukrainian forces from Donbass.
Moscow argues that its troops solely attack military objectives and denies that any of its soldiers have engaged in war crimes.
Late in March, Russia and Ukraine’s peace efforts effectively came to an end. Both sides held the other accountable for the breakdown of the talks.
Ukrainian and Western officials have since argued that talks with Moscow would only make sense if Kiev gains the upper hand on the battlefield and can negotiate from a position of strength.
“The Russian authorities will surely offer negotiations to us if they see the strength of the world that supports Ukraine,” Zelensky said on Monday.