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Ukraine rejects Russia proposal that it adopt neutral status like Austria, Sweden

People who fled the war in Ukraine rest inside an indoor sports stadium being used as a refugee center, in the village of Medyka, a border crossing between Poland and Ukraine, on March 15, 2022. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
People who fled the war in Ukraine rest inside an indoor sports stadium being used as a refugee center, in the village of Medyka, a border crossing between Poland and Ukraine, on March 15, 2022. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

Ukraine rejects proposals pushed by Russia for it to adopt a neutral status comparable to that of Austria or Sweden, saying talks with Moscow to end fighting should focus on “security guarantees.”

“Ukraine is now in a direct state of war with Russia. Consequently, the model can only be ‘Ukrainian’ and only on legally verified security guarantees,” its top negotiator Mikhailo Podolyak says in comments published by President Volodymyr Zelensky’s office.

The Kremlin said earlier that Ukraine becoming a neutral state is being discussed at talks with Kyiv and would be a “compromise.”

“This is an option that is being discussed now and that can be considered as a compromise,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

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