- Zelenskyy on Friday said Russia still had an opportunity to make peace with Ukraine.
- Sporadic peace negotiations throughout the 10-week-long war have yielded little progress.
- Ukraine’s president said Russia forces would have to withdraw for him to accept a peace deal.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy shed some light on what a possible peace deal with Russia may look like, adding that Russia hasn’t burned all its diplomatic bridges yet.
Zelenskyy said Russian forces would have to retreat to where they were before Russia launched its invasion in order for him to accept a peace deal, the Ukrainian president said during a conversation with UK think tank Chatham House on Friday.
But for that to happen, Zelenskyy said, diplomats would need to agree to put an end to the violence.
“Despite the fact that [Russia] destroyed all our bridges, not all the bridges are yet destroyed, figuratively speaking,” Zelenskyy said.
Ukraine’s president added that he doesn’t care about what happens to Russian President Vladimir Putin — whom he has accused of war crimes — and that Russia’s leader doesn’t mean anything to him in the context of what victory looks like.
Victory, Zelenskyy said, is all about Ukrainian territory and people. He said he wants to rebuild the economy to pre-war levels, join the European Union, and bring back displaced citizens.
Zelenskyy added that he wants the West to be aware of Ukraine’s devastation and the widespread impact of the conflict.
“They should feel our pain — that will unite them — and they will never be affected by any Russian propaganda and they will be helping us all the way,” Zelenskyy said.
Russia’s invasion began more than 2 months ago, but his forces have been plagued with logistical errors and stalled by fierce Ukrainian resistance. Sporadic peace negotiations between the two sides have yielded little progress in ending the brutal conflict.
Humanitarian evacuations from the besieged Azovstal steel plant in bombarded Mariupol this week — where a small band of Ukrainian resistance and civilians have been holed up for weeks — marked a rare occasion where Russia appears to have cooperated with international efforts to save the lives of civilians.
Meanwhile, the costly war has killed tens of thousands of troops and civilians, and turned cities across Ukraine into rubble as Russian forces fire into residential areas.
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