Kremlin says Sweden, Austria could be models for Ukraine neutrality, Kyiv rejects the offer

The Kremlin said Wednesday that Ukraine becoming a neutral state with a status comparable to Sweden and Austria is being discussed at talks with Kyiv and would be a “compromise”.

“This is a variant that is currently being discussed and which could really be seen a compromise,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted as saying by TASS.

Peskov was commenting on remarks from Vladimir Medinsky, Russia’s chief negotiator, who earlier told state TV: “Ukraine is offering an Austrian or Swedish version of a neutral demilitarized state, but at the same time a state with its own army and navy.”

An advisor to Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky has said that a Russian proposal that Ukraine adopts an Austrian style neutrality is unacceptable to the country.

Mykhailo Podoliak, a member of the Ukrainian negotiating team, told local media any peace deal must be on Ukrainian terms that protect its sovereignty.

“We understand the attempt of our partners to remain proactive in the negotiation process,” Podoliak said. “Hence the words about the” Swedish” or “Austrian model” of neutrality. But Ukraine is now in a state of direct war with Russia.”

“Therefore, the model can only be “Ukrainian” and only with legally verified security guarantees. And no other models or options.”

Earlier this morning, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Russia was open to a peace deal that saw a neutral Ukraine maintain its own army and navy, along the lines of Austria or Sweden.

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