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President Zelenskyy: Peace talks 'more realistic' but says 'door closed' to NATO membership

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By Euronews  with AP
Ukrainian President Zelenskyy addresses Boris Johnson and other northern European leaders via video, to London. March 15th 2022
Ukrainian President Zelenskyy addresses Boris Johnson and other northern European leaders via video, to London. March 15th 2022   -   Copyright  AP Photo

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has used a new overnight video address to signal some progress in ongoing negotiations between his country and Russia.

Delegates from Moscow and Kyiv are due to meet via videoconference on Wednesday for another round of talks and Zelenskyy said that Russia’s demands during negotiations are becoming “more realistic."

However, he also cautioned that more time was needed for the talks.

“Efforts are still needed, patience is needed” he said in his nighttime video address to the nation. “Any war ends with an agreement.”

The president appealed for more weapons and more sanctions to punish Russia, and repeated his call to “close the skies over Ukraine to Russian missiles and planes.”

He said Russian forces on Tuesday were unable to move deeper into Ukrainian territory and continued their heavy shelling of cities.

Zelenskyy appears to give concession on NATO membership

On Tuesday afternoon President Zelenskyy addressed leaders from northern European countries meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in London.

The meeting brought together all ten members of the British-lead Joint Expeditionary Force, a military alliance of northern nations including all eight Nordic and Baltic countries, plus the Netherlands.

In a statement that seemed to signal potential grounds for agreement with Moscow, Zelenskyy told JEF leaders that he realises NATO has no intention of accepting Ukraine as a member.

“We have heard for many years about the open doors, but we also heard that we can’t enter those doors,” he said. “This is the truth, and we have simply to accept it as it is.”

NATO does not admit nations with unsettled territorial conflicts.

President Zelenskyy has said he realizes NATO isn’t 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.

Meanwhile on Wednesday morning British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that Ukraine won't be joining NATO in the near future. 

Johnson made the commens following a Tuesday meeting with northern European leaders in London where President Zelenskyy addressed the group via video conference. 

"The reality of the position” is that “there is no way Ukraine is going to join NATO any time soon” Mr Johnson said, adding that it was for Ukraine to make that decision for itself.