Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky has accepted that his country can never join NATO, in a signicant change of position that may help open the way towards an end to the war in his country.
In the build-up to the Russian invasion, a key demand of President Putin was that Ukraine must remain outside the western military alliance.
Until now that demand has been rejected outright by Washington, NATO and the government in Kyiv, who all insisted that Ukraine had an absolute right to “self-determination”.
Now President Zelensky has said in a video message: “Ukraine is not a member of Nato. We understand that. We have heard for years that the doors were open, but we also heard that we could not join. It’s a truth and it must be recognised.”
It’s the latest sign of possible movement towards a deal to end the war in Ukraine. Both Russian and Ukrainian negotiators have spoken of “progress” in negotiations although there are few specific details.
Russia has said it wants Ukraine to declare neutrality, disarm, recognise Crimea as part of Russia and recognise the Donbas region as independent. Ukraine has been calling for a ceasefire and the immediate withdrawal of all Russian forces.
Reeta Chakrabarti presents BBC News at Ten reporting by diplomatic correspondent James Landale.
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