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President of Guinea-Bissau tells Zelensky Putin is ready for talks. Zelensky suggests stopping the shelling and unblocking the ports.

Umaro Sissoca Embalo, the president of Guinea-Bissau, announced that Russian president Vladimir Putin is ready to negotiate with Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky. Embalo spoke about it during a joint briefing with Zelensky. The Office of the President of Ukraine published a video recording of the meeting.

“I was in Russia yesterday, I met with President Putin, and he asked me to speak with you and to convey a message. [...] He told me that he is ready for negotiations with President Zelensky,” said the leader of Guinea-Bissau.

Commenting on Putin’s proposal, Zelensky noted that Russia has already used 400 Iranian drones in attacks on Ukraine. “That’s the kind of dialogue Mister President spoke about. Instead of words, 400 missiles,” he said.

Zelensky invited Russia, before resuming negotiations, to stop shelling Ukrainian infrastructure, blocking Black Sea ports, and threatening the use of nuclear weapons:

As for the signals from the Russian side, Mister President said he wants to build bridges. [...] I said, in order for there to be bridges between one country and another, the one needs to not blow up the other’s infrastructure. Then, maybe, in the future they can talk about something. Who we talk with is another question. [...] The second question Russia passed along is about unblocking our relations. Let’s start with unblocking the Black Sea. And a third thing: everyone is afraid of nuclear threats, and all of that rhetoric comes from the Russian Federation.

Zelensky suggested that Putin’s initiative was “planned rhetoric,” directed at an internal Russian audience and at those countries which have retained relations with Russia.

In order to even discuss a dialogue, one country needs to respect the other, its territorial integrity, its sovereignty, its borders. We have none of this.

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Russia and Ukraine began peaceful negotiations shortly after the Russian invasion of Ukraine territory. The talks were held in Turkey, but by April they had stalled.

After that, Ukraine refused to resume negotiations with Russia, saying that only Ukrainian victory could protect the country from another invasion in a few years.

At the end of September and beginning of October, Russia formally annexed the territories it had captured in southern and eastern Ukraine. After that, Zelensky said he was ready to talk with Russia, but under a different president. Within several days he signed a decree on “the impossibility of negotiations with President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin.”

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