MOSCOW, October 4. /TASS/. Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s decree to enforce the National Security and Defense Council’s decision to the effect it is impossible to hold talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin blocks the path to a peace settlement and is fraught with tremendous risks of the conflict’s escalation and more casualties, the board chairman of the Foundation for the Support and Development of the international discussion club Valdai, Andrey Bystritsky, told TASS.
"The situation following Zelensky’s statement has turned from bad to worse. In this way, he is trying to retaliate against Russia for recognizing the referendums in the DPR, the LPR, and the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions and letting these territories join Russia," he said. But the Ukrainian president’s reaction, in his opinion, is extremely risky. "De facto Kiev receives proposals, including some from the Russian president, for a ceasefire. A ceasefire might be established right away," the expert believes.
Bystritsky stresses that Zelensky’s decree has blocked the path to negotiations: "De facto he has created a situation where the negotiations can be considered as unrealistic."
"This creates a colossal risk of an escalation of hostilities and violence and the number of casualties," Bystritsky stressed.
The expert believes that a major question remains unanswered. Was this decision entirely Zelensky’s own idea or was it approved by his handlers from Western countries and the United States?
"If this statement about the impossibility of negotiations had been agreed with the Western countries, then obviously we will see a dramatic escalation. This means that we are on the threshold of a really big war. If it had not been agreed, it remains to be seen how Zelensky will behave when he gets some kind of reaction from his Western bosses," Bystritsky said.
The deputy director of the Institute of CIS Countries, Vladimir Zharikhin, says that Zelensky's statement was nothing but grandstand play.
"It was another in a series of PR moves by the Ukrainian president, which, from the point of view of legislation, including Ukrainian one, looks doubtful and also very ostentatious," he said. At the same time, in his opinion, Kiev by declaring its unwillingness to negotiate at the highest level, does not mean it is pulling out of the dialogue on the exchange of prisoners of war, or refusing to extend the grain deal.
On Tuesday, Zelensky enforced the National Security and Defense Council’s decision on the impossibility of holding negotiations with Putin. A corresponding decree was uploaded to the website of Ukrainian presidential office.