President Zelensky says Ukraine MUST withdraw Russia from all of its territory or ‘the war is simply frozen until it resumes’ – as his forces continue to push back Putin’s troops
- President Zelensky said Russia must leave Ukrainian territory for the war to end
- Mr Zelensky said the war was simply ‘frozen’ until Russia was withdrawn from its territory
- West fears war could escalate if Ukraine tries to retake Crimea
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has warned Moscow that it must withdraw from all occupied territories if there is to be a lasting resolution to war.
Speaking to the Financial Times, President Zelensky said Putin’s forces must be withdrawn from all Ukrainian lands for there to be any hope for the war to end.
“We must return all land,” Mr. Zelensky said, “because I believe the battlefield is the way when there is no diplomacy.” If you can’t fully recover your land, the war is simply frozen. It’s a matter of time before it starts again.
The Ukrainian leader’s comments follow heightened fears among Western allies that the war could escalate – particularly if Ukraine tries to retake Crimea, the region illegally captured by Russia in its 2014 annexation.
President Zelensky said Putin’s forces must be withdrawn from all Ukrainian territory for there to be any hope of the war ending. The Ukrainian leader is pictured on November 19
The West fears that if Ukraine sought to retake Crimea, Putin could meet its threats and use nuclear weapons.
The Ukrainian president admitted that the fate of Crimea is of growing concern to the international community, but said that “if anyone is ready to offer us a path regarding the disoccupation of Crimea by non-military means, I will not will only be favourable”.
Ukraine has suffered an upsurge in shelling in recent weeks, with Putin’s forces targeting the country’s critical infrastructure in hopes of forcing Ukraine into territorial concessions.
Mr Zelensky said he was adamant that this tactic by Russia to destroy critical infrastructure would not deter his country from liberating its own territory.
Putin’s forces this week launched some 70 missiles at key infrastructure in Ukraine. Around 80% of the country was plunged into darkness and without access to water.
Mr Zelensky said he was adamant that Russia’s tactic of destroying infrastructure would not prevent his country from liberating its own territory. Mr Zelensky is pictured earlier this week in Kyiv
Putin’s men are not backing down as the new barrage of infrastructure strikes suggests Mocow is intent on turning the onset of winter into his weapon. The Russian president is pictured in Moscow on Thursday
Strikes on the power grids have deprived residents of the entire Kyiv region, the western city of Lyiv, the northern city of Kharkiv and the southern region of Odessa of electricity.
Ukraine’s 15 nuclear reactors were also taken out of service due to unstable electricity, with the bombardment also causing blackouts in half of neighboring Moldova.
“It’s the kind of incident that hasn’t happened for I don’t know how many years, maybe 80, 90 years: a country on the European continent where there was absolutely no light,” said said the Ukrainian leader.
Critically, attacks on infrastructure have left Ukraine short of transformer units to repair its decimated power grid. The Financial Times reported that Ukraine was seeking replacement transformers from Poland and Lithuania.
Putin’s men aren’t backing down as new barrage of infrastructure strikes suggests Mocow intends to making the arrival of winter its weapon.
Mr Zelensky said the attacks on civilian infrastructure showed that Russia had no intention of negotiating an end to the war anytime soon.
But Kyiv has also pushed back on any suggestion from Western allies that it would be open to talks and negotiations to end the war that has now lasted nine months.