Ukraine won't surrender, give an inch of land during Russia talks: FM

Updated on Feb 27, 2022 09:41 PM IST

Ukraine-Russia conflict: Ukraine said it would hold talks with Russia "without preconditions" along the Belarusian border after Moscow earlier demanded Kyiv's military lay down their arms before negotiations could begin.

Protestors take part in a demonstration against Russia's invasion of Ukraine at the Venceslas square in Prague, Czech Republic.(AFP)
Protestors take part in a demonstration against Russia's invasion of Ukraine at the Venceslas square in Prague, Czech Republic.(AFP)

Ukraine said on Sunday it would not buckle under pressure during talks with Russia over its invasion, even as it slammed President Vladimir Putin’s move to put Russian nuclear forces on high alert.

Ukraine’s foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba said not an inch of the country’s land would be ceded to the opponent. "We will not surrender, we will not capitulate, we will not give up a single inch of our territory," Kuleba said at a press conference broadcast online.

Ukraine said it would hold talks with Russia "without preconditions" along the Belarusian border after Moscow earlier demanded Kyiv's military lay down their arms before negotiations could begin.

This came hours after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy his country was willing to negotiate at any place other than Belarus, a nation he accused of being a staging ground for the invasion.

Meanwhile, war continued in several cities of Ukraine for the fourth day of Russia’s invasion, a move that has sent shockwaves across the world.

Ukraine's forces have put up fierce resistance and claim to have inflicted heavy damages on the Russian military. The Ukrainian army took back full control of Kharkiv, the country's second-largest city, hours after Russian troops entered the northeastern city that was soon rocked by machine gun firing and explosions early Sunday.

Read for live updates on Russia-Ukraine conflict

Kuleba said that after it "suffered losses and realised their plan did not go as it was designed, their blitzkrieg failed, Russia started speaking with the language of ultimatums, saying they are ready to talk with preconditions".

"As the Russian army experienced one defeat after another, the preconditions, the ultimatums of Russia were put aside and they conveyed the message to us that they just want to talk," he said.

Kuleba said that an announcement by Putin ahead of the talks that he was putting Moscow's nuclear "deterrence forces" on high alert was meant to rattle Kyiv.

"We see this announcement and this order... as an attempt to raise the stakes and to put pressure on the Ukrainian delegation," Kuleba said.

He said the threat of nuclear weapons "will be a catastrophe for the world but it will not break us down".

Ukraine has launched a major diplomatic offensive to rally international allies as Russia bombards cities across the country. It also moved the International Court of Justice against Russia to hold the Kremlin accountable for its actions against Ukraine. “Russia must be held accountable for manipulating the notion of genocide to justify aggression. We request an urgent decision ordering Russia to cease military activity now and expect trials to start next week,” the President tweeted.

A number of NATO countries have already committed to sending weapons to Ukraine, besides massive sanctions being imposed on Moscow.

A coalition, including the EU, US and Britain announced Saturday that it would cut some Russian banks off from the SWIFT global banking system and "paralyse" the assets of Moscow's Central Bank.

Kuleba said the measures should be as sweeping as possible and that the international community should go after Russia's major exports of oil and gas.

"We need immediate steps to impose full financial isolation on Russia," he said, adding, "We also demand to impose a full oil and gas embargo on Russia."

(With inputs from agencies)

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