The Ukrainian president continued to call on Russia to negotiate an end to hostilities, but stressed that Ukraine would not give up any territory.
The statement, made by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in a video speech on the evening of March 25, appeared to be in response to a statement by Sergei Rudskoi, head of the Operations Department of the Russian General Staff, that Moscow was nearing completion. phase one of the campaign and will focus “on the main objective, liberating the Donbass”.
Russian-backed separatists have controlled parts of the Donbass region in eastern Ukraine since 2014 and Russian forces are trying to push Ukrainian defenses out of the area, including the port city of Mariupol.
General Rudskoi’s remarks also indicated that Russia might change tactics, not seeking to seize Kiev and other major cities after weeks of slow progress.
Zelensky once again called on Russia to negotiate an end to the conflict, but insisted that Ukraine would never “exchange any territory for peace”. He said Russia had suffered heavy losses but had not yet captured the capital Kiev or Kharkov, Ukraine’s second largest city.
The Ukrainian president said the Russian side had lost more than 16,000 troops but gave no data to prove it. The Russian Ministry of Defense in a press conference on March 25 announced that 1,351 Russian servicemen were killed in the fighting in Ukraine, 3,825 were injured. This is Russia’s second casualty update since March 2.
Zelensky also said authorities had secured 18 humanitarian corridors in the past week, evacuating 37,606 people, including 26,477 from Mariupol to Zaporizhzhia.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on March 25 that dialogue with Moscow was difficult because of disagreements on key issues, especially the issue that Ukrainian will be the only national language in Ukraine. He also stressed that the “Ukrainian delegation expressed a strong stance” and stressed that Kiev would not surrender, demanding a “truce, ensuring Ukraine’s security and territorial integrity”.
A month after Russia launched its military operation in Ukraine, the United Nations recorded 1,081 civilians killed and 1,707 injured, warning the real number could be much higher. More than 3.7 million Ukrainians have fled abroad, half of them to Poland, out of a total of more than 10 million people displaced by the fighting.
Hong Hanho (Based on AP/CNN)