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Ukraine feels no pressure from its allies during negotiations with Russia despite some expert opinions suggesting that Kyiv surrender territory for peace.
“I’m very glad to say that we are not pressured by our friends and partners here in the United States,” Ukrainian Ambassador to the U.S. Oksana Markarova told Fox News Digital. “I’m very upset, I would even say, to read some of the expert opinions that Ukraine should give up some of our territories in exchange for peace somehow.”
“It’s an illusion to think that if we surrender some of our people or some of our territories, that Russia will be opposed and somehow stop,” she added. “Because in 2014, Russia already when Russia attacked us for the first time and illegally annexed Crimea and illegally took part of Lugansk and Donetsk, it didn’t stop Russia.”
Russia has shifted its goals several times since the start of its invasion into Ukraine, but the southern territories have seemingly remained its priority.
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Initial thought suggested that Russia’s invasion would target only the Luhansk and Donetsk regions, which Russian President Vladimir Putin formally recognized and used as an initial pretext for his invasion.
But Putin instead tried to invade Kyiv immediately and waged war across the vast majority of Ukraine. After almost two months and failing to take any major targets in that time, Putin declared that Russia had achieved its immediate target and would focus on securing the Donbas region and adjacent territories.
In that time, some experts have suggested that Ukraine may need to surrender territory to Russia in order to achieve a peace deal.
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Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger told the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland that “ideally, the dividing line should be a return to the status quo ante,” which many have interpreted as meaning the division of territory prior to Russia’s invasion, The Telegraph reported. That concession would leave Crimea in Russian possession.
And President Biden on Friday did not rule out the possibility of Ukraine ceding land as part of a negotiation for peace, saying he is “not going to tell them what they should and shouldn’t do.”
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“But it appears to me that at some point along the line, there’s going to have to be a negotiated settlement here,” the president added. “And what that entails, I don’t know. I don’t think anybody knows at the time. But in the meantime, we’re gonna continue to put the Ukrainians in a position where they can defend themselves.”
Markarova maintained the stance put forward by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, which stresses that Ukrainian sovereignty rests with recognition of its original borders, including the return of Crimea and the two rebel regions.
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“It’s Ukraine. We worked really hard through all diplomatic channels to restore the sovereignty without military actions,” the ambassador said. “Now it’s Russia that started the attack again.”
“It’s Russia that conducted genocide,” she added. “It’s Russia that’s killing people all over Ukraine. We need to stop it together. It’s very important for all of us.”