British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss hinted a possible exit route for Russia might be considered if President Vladimir Putin fully withdraws his troops from Ukraine and pledges “not to launch new aggressions.”
The UK's top diplomat made those statements during an interview published by The Sunday Telegraph.
In the potential scenario, the United Kingdom is ready to lift sanctions against Russian banks, companies, and oligarchs, for which a negotiating unit has been set up within the Foreign Office.
That step would also require assurances from Moscow that it would not launch any further attacks. Otherwise retaliatory sanctions against Russia would be immediately applied.
Sanctions have had a crippling effect on the Russian economy, so the prospect of automatically reimposing them would be a significant deterrent to any future aggression, Truss said.
However, Truss also admitted she could envision a situation in which people like Russian tycoon Roman Abramovich could ever return to this country after being punished for his proximity to Putin's regime.
Meanwhile, in an interview with independent Russian media, Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelensky admitted that security guarantees, neutrality and nuclear-free status of our state are points that are thoroughly studied. These are key points ahead of the new round of peace negotiations to be held this week in Turkey.
We are ready to accept it, it is under discussion, it is being thoroughly studied, Zelensky said. But demanded the withdrawal of Russian troops to discuss the issue of Donbas and the Crimean peninsula.
”I understand that it is impossible to force Russia to fully liberate the (Ukrainian) territories because it would lead to the Third World War, I understand everything perfectly; this is what I say, it is a compromise: go back to where it all started and we will try to solve the difficult issue of Donbas, Zelensky said.
We are ready to accept it, but I don't want it to be another document in the style of the Budapest Memorandum, he added. The Budapest Memorandum is an agreement signed in 1994 by Russia guaranteeing the integrity and security of three former Soviet republics, including Ukraine, in exchange for giving up nuclear weapons inherited from the Soviet Union.
Moscow's media regulator has banned the broadcasting of this interview. Outlets that have acted interviews will be subjected to scrutiny to determine the extent of their responsibility and the appropriate response to be taken,” Russian authorities have warned.
The interview was published by Zelensky himself on his Telegram channel and it involved several well-known journalists in Russia such as Mikhail Zigar or Tikhon Dziadko, director of TV Rain television, which was recently closed down by the Russian government.
In another act of censorship, Roskomnadzor has banned access to the websites of German newspaper Bild.
A new press law in Russia provides for penalties of up to 15 years in prison for anti-war speech.