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Zelensky lists ‘red lines’ for talks with Russia

Russia will “cut itself off” from talks if POWs are put on trial in Donbass, Ukrainian president says

There will be no more peace talks with Russia if Ukrainian POWs are subjected to a “show trial,” Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has said.

Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) authorities previously said that they are planning tribunals for suspected war crimes committed by Ukrainian troops, including the Azov Battalion, whose ranks include fighters with openly nationalist and neo-Nazi views.

“If this despicable show trial takes place… This will be the line beyond which any negotiations are impossible. Russia will cut itself off from any negotiations,” Zelensky said in a video address early Monday, adding that such a trial would be a violation of international law.

Zelensky’s statement comes after photos appeared on social media allegedly showing large cages being installed on the stage of the Mariupol Philharmonic. Ukraine’s military intelligence service, the GUR, said that the cages will be used to house Ukrainian soldiers captured by Russian and Donbass forces during the siege of the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol.

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DPR head Denis Pushilin told TASS news agency this month that “active preparations” for the tribunal were underway. “The first tribunal will most likely be held in Mariupol. It will be organized by the end of summer,” he said.

The peace talks between Russia and Ukraine have been stalled since spring.

Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, citing Kiev’s failure to implement the Minsk agreements, designed to give the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk special status within the Ukrainian state. The protocols, brokered by Germany and France, were first signed in 2014. Former Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko has since admitted that Kiev’s main goal was to use the ceasefire to buy time and “create powerful armed forces.”

In February 2022, the Kremlin recognized the Donbass republics as independent states and demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join any Western military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked.

https://ift.tt/Q8OuKV1 22, 2022 at 12:45PM
from RT – Daily news

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