Zelenskyy concedes Ukraine will never join Nato as peace talks become 'more realistic'

16 March 2022, 06:25 | Updated: 16 March 2022, 07:20

Mr Zelenskyy has accepted that Ukraine will be unable to join Nato.
Mr Zelenskyy has accepted that Ukraine will be unable to join Nato. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has claimed that peace talks with Russia are becoming "more realistic" after having conceded that Ukraine will never join Nato.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Speaking in the early hours of Wednesday, Mr Zelenskyy said that Russia's demands during peace talks were becoming "more realistic" but more time was still needed.

He said in his daily address: "Efforts are still needed, patience is needed.

"Any war ends with an agreement."

Meanwhile, senior Ukrainian negotiator Mykhailo Podolyak, who is also an adviser to Mr Zelenskyy and spoke to Russian negotiators, described the talks as "very difficult".

He added "there are fundamental contradictions" but said "there is certainly room for compromise".

It came after the leader told European leaders gathered in London that he realised Nato had no intention of accepting Ukraine.

Boris Johnson confirmed on Wednesday that there is "no way Ukraine is going to join Nato anytime soon" but stressed that the decision had to be for the country's president to take.

Speaking to broadcasters in Abu Dhabi, the PM said: "I talked to Volodymyr (Zelenskyy) again yesterday and of course I understand what he is saying about Nato and the reality of the position. "And everybody has always said - and we've made it clear to (Russian President Vladimir) Putin - that there is no way Ukraine is going to join Nato anytime soon.

"But the decision about the future of Ukraine has got to be for the Ukrainian people, and Volodymyr Zelenskyy is their elected leader and we will back him.

"And the most important thing is that Putin's aggression, his absolutely barbaric attacks on Ukraine should stop and they should not be seen to have succeeded, and they won't succeed."

Read more: 'One hostile regime to another' fury as PM turns to brutal Saudi regime for gas and oil

Read more: Russian forces take 400 patients and doctors hostage at Mariupol hospital

'In a curious way, Putin now needs Zelenskyy'

His comments followed an earlier statement from Mr Zelenskyy that seemed to signal potential grounds for agreement with Moscow.

"We have heard for many years about the open doors, but we also heard that we can't enter those doors," Mr Zelenskyy said.

"This is the truth, and we have simply to accept it as it is."

Russia is currently demanding Ukraine drop its bid to join Nato, adopt a neutral status and "demilitarise".

Mr Zelenskyy has repeatedly said in recent weeks that he realises Nato is not going to offer membership to Ukraine and that he could consider a neutral status for his country but needs strong security guarantees from both the West and Russia.

He is set to address the US Congress on Wednesday, having thanked President Joe Biden and "all the friends of Ukraine" for 13.6 billion dollars (£10.4 billion) in new support.

He went on to appeal for more weapons and more sanctions to punish Russia, also reiterating his calls for a no-fly zone in Ukraine, which has been denied amid concerns that it would trigger a Third World War.

Peace talks between Ukraine and Russia are set to continue on Wednesday.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Russian soldiers take part in a military exercise in the Donetsk region of Ukraine

14 killed as Russian missiles slam into Ukrainian city

David Cameron has said it is 'clear' Israel is planning to act

Israel is 'making decision to act', David Cameron says in Jerusalem as he urges Netanyahu not to escalate Iran conflict

Starmer and Sunak went head-to-head in the first post-Easter PMQs session

Starmer accuses Sunak of promising £46bn unfunded tax cut as he taunts PM about Liz Truss’ new book at PMQs

David wrote "50 never looked so good"

'50 and fit!': David Beckham shares never-before-seen photos of Victoria as she celebrates her 50th birthday

A homeless person sleeps near the Eiffel Tower

French police evict hundreds from abandoned Paris warehouse ahead of Olympics

Exclusive
Urgent warning to parents as doctor 'arriving from Bangladesh' advertising 'miracle autism cure'

Urgent warning to parents over doctor 'arriving from Bangladesh' with 'miracle autism cure' as cops launch fraud probe

People wade through floodwater in Peshawar

Death toll from four days of rain in Pakistan rises to 63

Marquess of Queensberry, David Douglas

12th Marquess of Queensberry, 94, uses Judo throw to fend off 6ft mugger who attacked him outside London home

Nick Read, chief executive of the Post Office, giving evidence to the Business and Trade Committee

Post Office boss cleared of misconduct after investigation into sexism and bullying claims

A Solomon Islander casts his vote

Solomon Islanders vote in election that will shape relations with China

Clarisa Figueroa (L), 46, was sentenced to 50 years

Killer dubbed 'Womb Raider' jailed for 50 years after murdering pregnant teenager and cutting out her baby

Kamonnan Thiamphanit was knifed to death at a £4m London property she was renting as an AirBnb

Prime suspect in woman's murder at £4m Hyde Park mansion 'has fled abroad', inquest told

A voter casts her ballot at a polling station in Zagreb

Croatia votes in election showdown between president and prime minister

Exclusive
Government Ministers Attend Weekly Cabinet Meeting

Conversion therapy ban: Kemi Badenoch says work ongoing on new laws and she's NOT blocking it

Squatters have taken over Marco Pierre White's Leicester Square restaurant

Squatters take over Marco Pierre White's Leicester Square restaurant and padlock doors months after it was shut down

Aung San Suu Kyi

Ousted Myanmar leader Suu Kyi moved from prison to house arrest due to heat