Changes after peace deal would take at least a year
With pending peace talks due to take place in Turkey this week, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said any agreement reached must be secured on paper and voted on in Ukraine.
“I want it not to be another piece of paper like the Budapest memorandum,” Zelensky said. “We want to turn this document into a meaningful agreement, which will be signed by all guarantors. Verification of this document should also be carried out in the parliaments of the guarantor countries, and a referendum on this issue should be held in Ukraine.”
A vote and legislative changes could take at least a year, he said, but any agreement hinges on a ceasefire and Russia withdrawing its troops from Ukraine.
“We have to have agreements with President Putin,” Zelensky said. “The guarantors will not sign anything if the troops are not withdrawn. With signatures, seals, even blood, whatever. And that is enough to start the process of troop withdrawal. The troops must be withdrawn, the guarantors will sign everything , and it will all start to work: Ratifications in parliaments, a referendum in a few months, and only then, amendments to the Constitution.
Zelensky added that a personal meeting between him and Russian President Vladimir Putin would be necessary. The use of the Russian language in Ukraine is a major subject of negotiations.
“In general, I would like to end this constant argument over language,” Zelensky said.
“We all speak the way we want and the language we want. We have more than 100 nationalities in the country. That’s why I said: only a mirrored respect for the history, the languages, the cultural values of all the neighbors. I accept it. I am sure that our people will accept it if they want to. Because all this will be decided one way or another by the people, the voters.
On Monday, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said no “significant achievement or breakthrough” had been made so far in the negotiations.
“We cannot and do not want to speculate on progress at this time, but the very decision to move forward with face-to-face talks is important, of course,” Peskov told the news agency. Russian press TASS.
“At this time, we prefer to follow a policy of not disclosing any details of the talks. We believe that otherwise we could harm the negotiation process. Unfortunately, we cannot say that there have been any achievements or significant breakthroughs so far.”