Talks with Russia are beginning to be “constructive,” a Ukrainian negotiator said on Saturday, describing what he perceived as an apparent shift in Moscow’s attitude towards Ukrainian resistance and biting international sanctions.
Mykhailo Podolyak, an advisor to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, said he had noted a change in Russia’s approach as it realized “the real price of war.”
“At the very start of the war, they were insisting on total domination. They weren’t expecting that Ukraine would deliver such severe resistance,” Podolyak said in an interview with the Canadian daily The Globe and Mail, in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv.
“They are starting to realize the real price of war only now. And now we are starting to have constructive negotiations,” added the official, who participated in the first two rounds of talks between Russia and Ukraine, held on the border of Belarus.
A third session of talks is scheduled for Monday, according to the Ukrainian delegation.
The Russians “have lost massive amounts of equipment and manpower. Sanctions like we’ve never seen before are collapsing their economy. Their country has become an outlaw on the international scene and their propaganda doesn’t work at all,” Podolyak said.
He repeated the president’s request for NATO to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine, which the Western alliance rejected Friday.
Zelensky lashed out at the group, saying the alliance had given “the green light for further bombing of Ukrainian cities and villages.”
While stressing that both sides in the talks had agreed not to discuss details of the negotiations, Podolyak said Ukraine’s objectives remained an immediate ceasefire, security guarantees that the country would not be attacked again, and significant compensation for the loss of life and damage to Ukrainian cities.