Two weeks after Russia launched a military campaign in Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelensky says he is ready to “discuss” and “find compromises” for the status of the Crimean Peninsula and other separatist territories.
“I think that items regarding temporarily-occupied territories and pseudo-republics not recognized by anyone but Russia… we can discuss and find a compromise on how these territories will live on,” Zelenskiy told ABC News on Monday.
“I’m ready for dialog, we’re not ready for capitulation,” he added.
Days before starting the offensive against Ukraine on February 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin recognized the breakaway Lugansk and Donetsk regions of eastern Ukraine as “independent republics.”
Russia on Monday set conditions to stop the military strikes, saying Kiev needed to “recognize that Crimea is Russian territory,” and Donetsk and Lugansk are “independent states. And that’s it. It will stop in a moment.”
Zelensky said, “What’s important to me is how the people in those territories who want to be part of Ukraine are going to live.”
The Ukrainian leader also accused Putin of “living in [an] informational bubble without oxygen,” calling on him to “start the dialog.”
“I think he’s capable of stopping the war that he started,” Zelensky said.
He said “Ukrainians are prepared to stand against Russia for their entire life.”
Zelensky pleads with Biden to declare no-fly zone
Zelensky has once again repeated his plea for the United States and its Western allies to secure his country’s airspace by imposing a no-fly zone.
He said that the war in his country would not stop and that an attack on freedoms there would affect the rest of the world.
“Today, war is here. Tomorrow, it will be in Lithuania, then in Poland, then in Germany,” Zelensky said. “This is serious. United States is far away, but in recent days, I do feel that United States are closer to us.”
The Ukrainian president also said that he believed US President Joe Biden “can do more” to stop the war.
“I am sure he can and I would like to believe that. He is capable of doing that,” he added.
Despite Zelensky’s plea, Washington and its NATO allies oppose creating a no-fly zone in Ukraine. They say such a move could lead to “full-fledged war in Europe.”
Putin also warned on Saturday that countries imposing such a no-fly zone would be considered to be participating in the conflict. He said imposing a no-fly zone would have “colossal and catastrophic consequences not only for Europe but also the whole world.”