Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said that he was no longer interested in making Ukraine a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), a sensitive issue which Russia emphasised as one of its reasons to invade Ukraine, AFP reported.
Offering an olive branch to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Zeleneskyy also said that he was open to compromising on the status of Donetsk and Lugansk – the two regions in Eastern Ukraine that President Putin had recognised as independent nations before the war began.
"I have cooled down regarding this question a long time ago after we understood that... NATO is not prepared to accept Ukraine," Zelenskyy said in an interview to ABC News.
"The alliance is afraid of controversial things, and confrontation with Russia," he said, adding that he did not want to be the president of a country which is "begging something on its knees".
'Open to Dialogue on Donetsk and Luhansk'
Speaking on the scope for dialogue with Russia, Zelenskyy said the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk "have not been recognised by anyone but Russia, these pseudo republics. But we can discuss and find the compromise on how these territories will live on".
However, he claimed that the situation was more complex than merely acknowledging the two territories as independent.
"What is important to me is how the people in those territories are going to live who want to be part of Ukraine, who in Ukraine will say that they want to have them in," Zelenskyy explained.
He also urged President Putin to begin the dialogue instead of "living in the informational bubble without oxygen," AFP reported.
(With inputs from AFP.)