Ukraine giving up territories for peace deal ‘political suicide’: Envoy to UN

Partition of Ukraine or secession of separatist regions of Donetsk and Luhansk ‘impossible,’ says Sergiy Kyslytsya.

Ukraine giving up territories for peace deal ‘political suicide’: Envoy to UN

Ukraine will not give up any of its territories in return for a peace deal with Russia amid the war, said the nation's envoy to the UN.

"No. It's impossible," said Sergiy Kyslytsya in an interview Thursday when asked if Ukraine would give up the Crimea or Donbas regions, on which Russia has demands for a peace deal with Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin wants Ukraine to accept Crimea as Russian soil and recognize the independence of the breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine, known collectively as Donbas.

"I don't believe we would ever agree on giving up our territory. It is political suicide," said Kyslytsya, stressing that the partition of Ukraine or secession of the separatist regions is "impossible.”

Russia's demand for Ukraine to give up its territories is "bad for President Putin, who is clearly losing the war," he added.

Asked whether Ukraine would agree to remain neutral and not be part of NATO, Kyslytsya said it is up to the Ukrainian people to decide as a nation.

He said he does not believe Russia would agree to find a diplomatic solution, noting that Moscow "has lost the bit of trustworthiness," and whatever it says must be corroborated with actions.

"If Russia wishes to mitigate the damage to Russia -- long-lasting damage, because Russia will suffer now, for many years to come -- then they have to organize themselves and to be serious at the (negotiation) table...Otherwise Russia will be militarily defeated," he added.

He also repeated a call for NATO to assist Ukraine with "as many weapons as necessary" against the Russian aggression. "If Ukraine is not able to defend itself, then the next (target of Russia) will be a NATO country," said Kyslytsya.

He also said that Ukraine needs assurances from the West and the international community that "what happens today will never happen again."

Turkiye's role for peace talks

On talks between Russia and Ukraine in Turkiye, Kyslytsya thanked President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for Ankara's efforts of mediation to end the war.

"It is a matter of fact that given the complexity of the issue, I don't believe that there are many -- except for Erdogan -- leaders who are willing to dedicate so much personal time and effort," he said.

He said it is in the national interest of Turkiye to have a free, peaceful and prosperous Ukraine as a neighbor, adding: "I see a very prosperous and successful future of our friendship."

The latest talks in Istanbul were seen as a breakthrough in the push to halt hostilities that, according to the latest UN figures, have claimed the lives of at least 1,232 civilians and left 1,935 others injured.

More than 4 million Ukrainians have also fled to other countries, with millions more internally displaced, according to the UN refugee agency.