Ukraine and Russia reportedly made progress yesterday on a draft 15-point peace plan, after almost four weeks of fighting.
The draft plan includes an agreement to a ceasefire, Ukraine agreeing to become neutral between Russia and Nato and commitments from Volodymyr Zelensky to shrink the Ukrainian army.
This would include Ukrainian promises to not host any foreign military bases or weaponry.
Officials from the Ukrainian and Russian governments have been working on the draft plan since Monday, with both sides telling the Financial Times today that progress has been made toward an agreement.
Mykhailo Podolyak, a senior adviser to Zelensky, told the FT that any deal would need to see “the troops of the Russian Federation in any case leaving the territory of Ukraine”.
Language from Russian President Vladimir Putin today signalled a resolve against a peaceful end to his invasion of Ukraine, despite the apparent progress.
He maintained that he needs to oversee “the neutral status of Ukraine, its demilitarisation, and its denazification”, which is his original line for declaring war, while also claiming the West was trying to “cancel” Russia.
“We will never allow Ukraine to become a stronghold of aggressive actions against our country,” he said.
Nato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg also said he saw “no sign on the ground” to suggest Russia was serious about peace talks.
“And that’s the reason why we also call on Russia to engage in these talks in good faith,” he said.
“And it’s not for me to report from these talks. Nato is not part of those talks. These are talks between Ukraine and Russia.”
Zelensky evoked 9/11, the attack on Pearl Harbour and Martin Luther King in a speech to US Congress today as he called on Joe Biden once again to implement a no-fly zone over Ukraine.
He said: “I have a dream, these words known to each of you today. I have a need. I need to protect our skies. I need your decision, your help, which means exactly the same you feel when you hear the words, ‘I have a dream’.
“Russia has turned the Ukrainian sky into a source of death for thousands of people … This is a terror that Europe has not seen for 80 years and we are asking for a reply, for an answer to this terror from the whole world.”