Zelensky, Russian minister Lavrov signal optimism in peace talks
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Wednesday said peace talks with Russia were starting to “sound more realistic,” while Russia voiced a similar sentiment even as its invasion rages on into its third week.
“Efforts are still needed, patience is needed,” the Ukrainian president said during a TV address.
On Russia’s side, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told RBC News that “neutral status is now being seriously discussed along, of course, with security guarantees,” according to Reuters.
“Now this very thing is being discussed in negotiations — there are absolutely specific formulations which in my view are close to agreement,” he added, noting the talks had not been easy but that there was “some hope of reaching a compromise.”
Meanwhile, Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said in a tweet that “fundamental contradictions” still existed in the talks.
“But there is definitely room for compromise,” Podolyak added.
Zelensky also acknowledged a large aid package from the U.S. in his remarks on Wednesday ahead of his address to the U.S. Congress set for later in the day.
“I would like to thank President Biden and all the friends of Ukraine in the United States for the new $13.6 billion package of support for our country, our people,” he said. “The law providing for this funding has been signed. We consider it as the first step towards the full restoration of Ukraine.”
Zelensky’s address to Congress is scheduled to start at 9 a.m.