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War in Ukraine Zelensky wants to meet Putin, Blinken and Austin in Kiev on Sunday

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(Kyiv) On Saturday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky again called for a meeting with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to “end the war.”

Posted 13:13 Updated 14:53

“I think whoever started this war can end it,” Mr Zelensky told a news conference at a metro station in central Kiev, reiterating that he was “not afraid to meet” (Mr Putin) if it led to peace. agreement between Russia and Ukraine.

“From the beginning, I insisted on negotiations with the Russian president,” he recalled. And add: “I do not want to meet with him, but I have to meet with him to resolve this conflict through diplomacy.”

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

The Ukrainian president also warned that Kyiv would leave negotiations with Moscow if Ukrainian troops settled in the large Azovstal metallurgical complex in Mariupol in south-eastern Ukraine were killed by the Russian army.

“If our men are killed in Mariupol and if a pseudo-referendum is organized in the Kherson region, then Ukraine will withdraw from any negotiation process,” he said.

Ready to replace the army

He also said he was “ready” to “exchange our troops defending Mariupol” in “any format” to get out “surrounded by people who are in a terrible situation.”

He specified that the “last contact” with soldiers anchored in the underground corridors of the huge Azovstal factory dates “an hour ago”.

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

Sunday Blinken Tour

US Foreign Minister Antony Blinken will visit Kyiv on Sunday, the Ukrainian president also announced on Saturday, two months a day after the start of the Russian invasion.

“US officials will come to our house tomorrow: I will meet with Secretary of Defense (Lloyd Austin) and Antony Blinken,” Zelensky told a news conference at a subway station in Kiev’s central square. This will be the first official visit by US government officials to Ukraine since February 24.

Guterres’ “illogical” decision

The Ukrainian president condemned the “illogical” decision of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to visit Moscow on Tuesday, two days before leaving for Kiev.

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