Ukraine ruled out the possibility of ceding land to Russia as part of a hypothetical ceasefire agreement between the two countries this weekend.
On Tuesday, Podolyak also said that peace talks with Russia were on hold.
The comments come as Russia’s offensive in the eastern Donbas region stalls, and Ukraine claims to have pushed Russian soldiers back to the border in Kharkiv.
What Is Russia Proposing?
In March, only weeks into the Ukraine invasion, Russia put forward four conditions that Ukraine must accept to stop the war.
Top Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Ukraine had been made aware of the conditions and told that the war could be “stopped in a moment” if Kyiv accepts the demands.
Those four demands included the demilitarization of Ukraine, a constitutional amendment that would prevent the country from joining NATO, the recognition of Crimea as Russian, and the recognition of the eastern Ukrainian regions of Luhansk and Donetsk.
So far, Ukraine has accepted that it will not join NATO. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said that he will accept that Ukraine will not be taken into the Western military alliance. Little progress on those other demands has been made during the negotiations.
Russia’s insistence that Ukraine accepts Crimea as Russian territory is not surprising. Since the annexation of Crimea in 2014, the international community has largely refused to accept that Russia controls the territory. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has also promised on multiple occasions to reclaim Crimea.
The insistence that Crimea accept the “independence” of the separatist regions of Luhansk and Donetsk is also significant. If Ukraine were to accept this condition, Russia would have free rein to immediately annex the region and incorporate the territories into Putin’s empire.
While Kyiv repeatedly refused to accept Russia’s territorial demands in the early days of the invasion, now that Russia’s position has significantly weakened, Ukraine has even fewer reasons to cede land.
With negotiations on hold, some analysts say the war in Ukraine could last several more months – and potentially even years.
Britain’s Foreign Secretary Liz Truss even suggested last month that the war could rage for another decade.
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.