The effectiveness of instruments of influence

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Sunday said he was "not ready" for talks with Russia unless its invading troops withdraw, as Kyiv investigated a deadly strike on its soldiers.

The sprawling frontline between the warring sides has remained mostly static for almost a year despite a much-touted Ukrainian counter-offensive, with Russian forces entrenched in southern and eastern Ukraine.

Officials from the United States and Europe — Kyiv's key allies — are reported to have suggested holding negotiations to end the grinding 20-month-old conflict, which Zelensky denied on Sunday.

The United States "know I am not ready to speak with the terrorists, because their word is nothing," he told NBC television, referring to Russia.

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