Ukraine floats possible talks on Crimea status, then tells to look to Zelenskyy
Spokesman for the President of Ukraine Serhii Nykyforov. Photo via the Office of the President of Ukraine

Kyiv does not completely rule out discussing the future of Russia-annexed Crimea with Moscow, a deputy head of Ukraine’s presidential office said, only to be clarified later that the issue is "primarily" decided on by the president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

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In an interview with the Financial Times newspaper, Andrii Sybiha claimed that Ukraine was willing to discuss the future of Crimea with Moscow "if its forces reached the border of the Russian-occupied peninsula".

"If we will succeed in achieving our strategic goals on the battlefield and when we will be on the administrative border with Crimea, we are ready to open [a] diplomatic page to discuss this issue," Mr Sybiha said.

"It doesn’t mean that we exclude the way of liberation [of Crimea] by our army," he added.

In a statement to LIGA.net, Serhii Nykyforov, the Ukrainian president’s spokesman, said that possible negotiations with Russia are decided on by Mr Zelenskyy.

"In this matter, we should be guided primarily by the words of the president of Ukraine – the supreme Commander-in-Chief," Mr Nykyforov explained.

Earier, Mr Zelensky said that a Russian representative could only be present during the peace settlement after the end of the war if Moscow did withdraw its troops from Ukraine.

If the Russian military had to be "knocked out", then "there is nothing to talk about with such people", he added.