In an interview given to independent Russian media, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke about the progress of the ceasefire talks with Russia. He noted that he was categorically against the discussions on "demilitarization and denazification".
"We donʼt discuss this at all... We will not sit at the table at all if we talk about some "demilitarization", some "denazification". For me, this is complete nonsense," Zelensky said.
As for the Russian language, Zelensky noted that every day of the war only worsens its status in Ukraine. He believes that people do not want to watch movies in Russian, read books and speak that language because of the war. Zelensky stated that he would accept "mirror respect for the history, language, cultural values of all neighbors."
"[It is necessary] to stop playing around — just like the Hungarians play with it a little, but less than Russians. Stop speculating about the closing of some schools in Ukraine. If you want a Russian school, if someone wants to study in Russian — please open a private school, but on one condition: you open [Russian school] here, we open [Ukrainian school in Russia]. You publish something [here] — so we publish [something Ukrainian in your country]. What attitude do we want to the Russian language? This is your language, the state language of the Russian Federation, everything must be fair. Respect us and our state language, Itʼs Ukrainian. Period," he stressed.
Zelensky noted that security guarantees are the main point of the talks. This is what is most discussed. According to him, there should be an international agreement with clear security guarantees. It must be ratified by the parliaments of the guarantor countries, and a referendum must be held in Ukraine on this issue. However, Zelensky stressed that international partners will not sit at the negotiating table while Russian troops standing on Ukrainian land. He believes that [any serious] agreement could be signed only during his personal talks with Putin.
"Here we met, agree with him — have a contract with him with signatures, with seals... That is enough to start the withdrawal process... Then ratification in parliament, a referendum in several months, and then changes to the Constitution," Zelensky explained.
In addition, Zelensky confirmed a number of informal contacts between Ukraine and Russia. In particular, he was asked about the participation of Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich. Zelensky noted that Abramovich was indeed in the humanitarian subgroup on the Russian side and helped organize a humanitarian corridor from Mariupol and deliver aid there — but this attempt failed.