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Ukrainian president declares the only way to end conflict with Russia

President Zelensky has continued to suggest negotiations with his Russian counterpart, Putin, insisting that this is the only way to end the current conflict.

“I am ready to negotiate with him,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said March 20 on US television channel CNN. “If there is only a 1% chance of ending hostilities, we need to use it to work towards negotiations and communication with President Putin.”

The Ukrainian president stressed that dialogue between the two top leaders is the only way to end the fighting. “Only the two of us, Putin and I, can come to an agreement on this,” Zelensky said.

He warned that if these attempts at negotiations failed, “it would mean World War III would break out”. The Ukrainian president has repeatedly said that the current conflict with Russia risks spreading to a global war.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks in his office in Kiev on Feb. 20.  photo: AFP

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks from his office in Kiev on Feb. 20. Photo: AFP

But Zelensky said he would oppose any concessions to Ukrainian territory, including the two breakaway territories in the east. Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Ukraine’s recognition of the independence of the two breakaway regions of Donetsk and Lugansk was a condition for reaching a peace deal.

“They can’t ask Ukraine to recognize some territories as independent republics,” Zelensky said. “The concession is wrong. We have to create a model in which Ukraine will not lose its sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

The Kremlin has not yet responded to President Zelensky’s remarks.

Since Russia launched a special military operation to “demilitarize and de-fascist Ukraine” on February 24, the delegations of the two countries have held many rounds of talks, but have only reached agreement on the issue of establishing a new political system. evacuate civilians, have not agreed to a ceasefire.

Russian President Vladimir Medinsky’s adviser on March 18 stressed that the delegations of the two countries needed to finalize a draft peace agreement before discussing a summit between the two presidents.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that 10 million people, more than a quarter of Ukraine’s population, have been displaced since the outbreak of hostilities. Of these, nearly 3.4 million refugees crossed Ukraine’s borders into its western neighbours, most to Poland, and the rest to non-conflict areas of Ukraine.

The United Nations Human Rights Office (OHCHR) said at least 902 civilians were killed and 1,459 injured in Ukraine as of March 19, mostly due to shelling.

Hong Hanho (Based on AFP)

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