One senior US official told the Washington Post they had been getting “mixed messages” about the chances of a deal happening any time soon, while another said the lack of clear messaging suggested that Mr Zelensky’s government is still trying to calculate what concessions they might be willing to make in order to bring about an end to the conflict.
With various statesmen putting themselves forward as potential mediators, analysts believe Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan – who recently offered to host the Ukrainian and Russian leaders for talks – could stand the best chance.
He has risked Moscow’s ire in various ways, including by selling armed drones to Ukraine and announcing the closure of the Bosphorus and Dardanelles straits to Russian warships.
But he has also carefully calibrated the Turkish response in order to maintain ties.
In the video released yesterday/SAT, Mr Zelensky referred to some of the increasingly “cruel and erroneous” tactics that Putin is employing in Ukraine, including the targeting of civilians and destruction of non-military infrastructure.
He said humanitarian corridors had enabled the evacuation of 180,000 Ukrainians, including 9,000 from the besieged city of Mariupol, but that “the occupiers continue to block the supply of humanitarian aid to the besieged cities in most areas” in a bid to create a “humanitarian catastrophe”.
“This is a totally deliberate tactic… (to convince) Ukrainians to cooperate with the occupiers,” he said.
But, he continued: “This tactic of the Russian military only worsens the situation for the Russian state, leads to new destructive sanctions (and) encourages new members to join our anti-war coalition.”