Zelensky reveals mediators in Azovstal talks
Leaders of France, Turkey, Israel, and Switzerland were involved in negotiations to withdraw Ukrainian defenders from the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol.
President Volodymyr Zelensky elaborated on the issue in an interview during an All-Ukrainian telethon, Ukrinform reports.
“The structure (of talks – ed.) is complex. It was agreed that mediators and Western partners would be dealing with the unblocking. I negotiated with Turkey, Switzerland, and Israel. First it was with France because of the leaders’ relations with the Russian Federation. That’s when we saw that it is impossible to unblock by military means,” he said.
Zelensky added that another mediator, besides the mentioned countries, was the United Nations. “We have agreed with the Secretary General in this regard,” the president said.
Prior to that, Zelensky stressed, he asked world leaders to provide the Armed Forces with the necessary weapons so that the Azovstal defenders could be unblocked by military means.
After the withdrawal of Ukrainian troops from Azovstal, according to the agreements reached, an exchange is expected to be held.
“We will bring them home. This is what we must do together with our partners who have taken up responsibility,” the president concluded.
As reported, Ukrainian forces had been defending Mariupol for more than 80 days. On May 16, the evacuation of Ukrainian defenders from the Azovstal plant, blocked by Russian invaders, began.