Russian warships shell 4 villages near Odessa, Ukrainian military says

A senior adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the country’s government rejects the idea floated by Russia that Ukraine should adopt a Swedish or Austrian model of neutrality.

Mykhailo Podolyak said Ukraine was now in a state of war with Russia and the security model “can only be Ukrainian” with “legally verified security guarantees. And no other model or option.”

“What does that mean?” He continued. “First, absolute security guarantees, which would mean that the signatories of the guarantees would not stand aside in the event of an attack on Ukraine, as is the case today.”
Instead, they would “take an active part alongside Ukraine in the conflict and provide us with an immediate supply of necessary weapons”.

The Kremlin said on Wednesday that the “demilitarization” of Ukraine could be a compromise for Russia, suggesting a Swedish or Austrian state model.

“This is an option that is currently being discussed and which could really be seen as a compromise,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in a regular conference call with reporters.

The head of the Russian delegation in talks with Ukraine, Vladimir Medinsky, spoke earlier of an Austrian or Swedish version of a neutral state in Ukraine with refusal to deploy foreign bases or enter the bloc, but at the same time with the presence of his armed forces.

Podolyak said: “Ukraine has never been a militaristic state that attacks or plans to attack its neighbours… That’s why today Ukraine wants to have a really strong group of allies with guarantees clearly defined safety measures.

He also reiterated the demand for a no-fly zone over Ukraine that would include both aircraft and missiles.

CNN’s Sarah Dean contributed reporting for this post.

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