Will Ukraine take the Russian language in a Pyrrhic victory over Putin? | World | News

Since Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a full-scale invasion of Ukraine more than three weeks ago, the two countries have held several rounds of peace talks to reach an agreement. So far, slow progress has been made, with delegations from both sides standing firm on their key demands for an end to the war.

Alexander Rodnyansky, adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, told Politico that some areas of the peace talks are “relatively easy” to agree.

He said that one of those parts would be to adopt Russian as the official language of certain regions of Ukraine.

The self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Luhansk, which contain a large ethnic Russian population, would likely be among the regions where this would be employed.

Mr Rodnyansky said: “So we can do the Russian language, you know, maybe a regional language or something, we can talk about it because, again, that’s not a problem, in essence.”

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The presidential adviser explained that agreeing to Moscow’s demands for what he calls the “denazification” of Ukrainian street names would also be straightforward.

He added: “There are these problems with certain cities whose streets are named after certain individuals whom they consider to be Nazis, it does not matter whether it is true or not.

“Obviously we don’t agree with that, but that’s their wording. But changing street names is not a big deal.

“So we can do that. That’s really what they have to sell to their people.

President Putin also wants Ukraine to cede the Crimean Peninsula to Russia and recognize it as Russian territory.

Crimea was originally annexed by Russia in 2014 and it was this development that caused the outbreak of civil war in eastern Ukraine.

About a fortnight ago, official Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov revealed that Moscow was also asking kyiv to change its constitution and declare neutrality between the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and Russia.

He said: “Ukraine is an independent state and can live as it wishes, but under conditions of neutrality.”

Mr Rodnyansky said the issue of neutrality is again something Ukraine is happy to negotiate as long as a “compromise” can be found.

He said: “The issue of neutrality is something that we can compromise on in the sense that we have to have a security guarantee, a tangible security guarantee for Ukraine in the future.

“If it’s not NATO, then something like the Budapest memorandum, but much more concrete.

“So if our sovereignty is violated, we need other concrete measures, security guarantees provided by states.

“If we get them, that would be enough at this point to say that we can delay our NATO ambitions, especially since NATO said ‘no’ to us anyway. So it’s relatively easy, I would say.

Sylvester L. Goldfarb