Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Saturday that Kyiv would quit talks with Moscow if Russia destroys Ukraine’s people in the city of Mariupol and holds “pseudo-referendums” to create “pseudo-republics” in Russian-occupied areas.
The Ukrainian president was speaking at a news conference in Kyiv.
“If our men are killed in Mariupol and if these pseudo-referendums are organized in the [southern] region of Kherson, then Ukraine will withdraw from any negotiation process,” he said.
He was ready to exchange Ukraine’s soldiers defending the city “in whatever format” to save “these people who find themselves in a horrible situation, surrounded.”
He said the “last contact” with the Mariupol soldiers had been an hour ago, adding “today is one of the hardest days” since the start of the Russian siege of the city at the beginning of March.