Ukraine wants peace and is ready for talks with Russia, including on NATO’s neutral status, Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said Friday.
“If conversations are possible, they should be held. If they say in Moscow that they want to talk, also about the neutral status, we are not afraid of that,” he said via text message. “We can talk about that too.”
“Our willingness to dialogue is part of our ongoing pursuit of peace.”
Ukraine is not currently part of NATO or the European Union, although it wants to join both, anathema to its former overlord Moscow.
Ukraine gave up its nuclear weapons after it gained independence at the breakup of the Soviet Union in exchange for security guarantees from European countries.
After a Russian-allied Ukrainian president was overthrown by pro-democracy protests in 2014, Moscow annexed the Crimean Black Sea peninsula from Kiev and supported rebels fighting government forces in the east of the country.
Seven years later, Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine from air, sea and land on Thursday and his troops advanced towards the capital Kiev on Friday.