2022 – Ukraine’s chancellor says no deal for Moscow is worth a ‘broken cent’, Zelensky says, Russian officials are weak. from Reuters

© Reuters. Mikhailo Podolak, political advisor to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, takes questions from a media representative after meeting with Russian negotiators in Istanbul, Turkey on March 29, 2022. Photo: Kemal Aslan/Reuters

Kyiv (Reuters) – Ukraine’s presidential adviser and chief negotiator for peace talks said on Saturday that no deal with Russia could be trusted, adding that the only way to stop Moscow’s invasion was force.

“Any deal with Russia is worth nothing,” Podolyak wrote in the Telegram messaging app. “Can you negotiate with a country that always lies sarcastically and propaganda?”

Russia and Ukraine blamed each other after peace talks faltered, with the last known face-to-face negotiations on March 29. The Kremlin said earlier this month that Ukraine had shown no willingness to continue peace talks, while officials in Kyiv blamed Russia for the lack of progress.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that the only interlocutor was Russian President Vladimir Putin, who made all the decisions.

“It doesn’t matter what your foreign minister says,” he told Dutch television in an interview filmed on Friday, “It doesn’t matter that he’s sending us a negotiating group…Unfortunately all these people are not one.”

Putin says that Russian forces are conducting a special operation to disarm Ukraine and rid it of anti-Russian ultra-nationalists. Ukraine and its allies call this a false pretense.

“Russia has proven that it is a barbaric country that threatens global security,” Podolyak said. “A barbarian can only be stopped by force.”

(Kyiv reporting by Max Hander and Ottawa by David Leungren; Melbourne writing by Lydia Kelly; editing by Francis Kerry and Chizu Nomiyama)