Ukraine is prepared to discuss adopting a neutral status as part of a peace deal with Russia but it would have to be guaranteed by third parties and put to a referendum, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in remarks aired on Sunday.
Zelenskiy was speaking to Russian journalists in a 90 minute video call, an interview that the Russian authorities had pre-emptively warned Russian media to refrain from reporting. Zelenskiy spoke in Russian throughout.
Zelenskiy said Russia's invasion had caused the destruction of Russian-speaking cities in Ukraine, and said the damage was worse than the Russian wars in Chechnya.
"Security guarantees and neutrality, non-nuclear status of our state. We are ready to go for it. This is the most important point," Zelenskiy said.
Ukraine was discussing the use of the Russian language in Ukraine in talks with Russia, but refused to discuss other Russian demands, such as the demilitarisation of Ukraine, Zelenskiy said.