Ukraine rejects idea of talks with Russia

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has flatly rejected any idea of launching peace negotiations with Russia despite the Ukrainian army’s difficult situation at the combat line of engagement.

“Is it difficult on the battlefield? Yes. But making friends or entering diplomatic table now with Russia? No!” he said in an interview with the Sun newspaper.

In his opinion, Russia is not ready to halt combat, “therefore, we are not speaking about peace at any price”.

On November 4, NBC News, citing US officials, reported that the US and EU had started talking with Ukraine about possible peace talks with Russia and what Kiev might have to give up for a compromise. According to the TV channel, the officials were “quietly talking to the Ukrainian government about what possible peace negotiations with Russia might entail”.

“The conversations have included very broad outlines of what Ukraine might need to give up to reach a deal,” it said. Some of the talks took place in October, NBC added.

Russia will not relent in its offensive against Ukraine because it does not feel that the entire world community has been willing to stop it, Zelensky stated.

The president said he believed Russia “will push until the United States and China together will tell them very, very seriously to go out of [our] territory”, adding that he believed Ukraine is now at the epicenter of the risk of starting World War III.

Russia, the Ukrainian leader continued, does not feel “afraid” because it has so far avoided the backlash of the whole world.

While most Western countries, including the US, have condemned Russia’s military operation against Kiev and imposed unprecedented sanctions, China and numerous countries of the Global South have embraced a neutral stance and maintained relations with Moscow intact.

Zelensky also attempted to temper the West’s expectations, admitting that Ukraine now has “a lot of challenges” and that Kiev “need[s] more successful results on the battlefield”.

“This is not a movie; it can’t be magic each day,” the former actor added.

His comments came amid Ukraine’s counteroffensive against Russia, which has been underway since early summer but has failed to gain any substantial ground. Moscow has estimated Kiev’s losses at 90,000 troops since the start of the push.

The Ukrainian president also stressed that Kiev would never agree to any settlement that would see it recognize Crimea and four other regions that overwhelmingly voted join Russia last autumn as part of the neighboring country. Kiev “will not be ready for such a peace plan… That is finishing the war from the side of Russia”, he explained.

The Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) also claimed in a statement on Monday Washington and London want Kiev to further expand its mobilization efforts, following the stalled summer counteroffensive, to supposedly demonstrate Russia’s “inability to prevail” in the Ukrainian conflict.

One of the suggestions backed by Western nations allegedly involves altering the draft age in Ukraine to allow Kiev to call teenagers and the elderly to arms.

The drastic measures are needed to substitute the heavy losses the Ukrainian troops have sustained during the largely unsuccessful summer offensive, the statement added.

“The American and British curators recommend that the Ukrainian … leadership lower the [minimum] draft age to 17 years and increase [the maximum one] to 70 years, as well as call more women to arms,” the SVR announced in the Monday statement, citing “reliable data” it had obtained.

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