Zelensky: Ukraine has already lost too many people in war with Russia

The next generation of Ukrainians or their offspring may end up fighting if Ukraine’s conflict with Russia becomes ‘frozen’ at this stage, but Kiev is working to prevent such an outcome, President Volodymyr Zelensky told a group of visiting journalists in the capital. He also confirmed Ukraine has “already lost too many people” in the conflict with Russia.

The Ukrainian head of state’s latest comments, made on Wednesday, follow an admission by the country’s top military commander, General Valery Zaluzhny, that Kiev and Moscow are locked in a “stalemate,” with neither side apparently in a position to pull off a decisive offensive.

Asked about the prospects of freezing the conflict, Zelensky insisted that “if there is a stalemate and a frozen conflict, we have to honestly say that our children, or our grandchildren, will have to fight” – something Kiev wants to avoid, he added.

According to the president, though his country has “already lost too many people”, Ukraine cannot afford to even think about freezing the conflict, “however hard it may be”.

“If we want to end the war, we must end it,” he proclaimed, insisting that Russia must be “put in its place”, or else it would strike again later on.

In an interview with Reuters last week, Zelensky stated that his country would continue fighting until it recaptured all territories within its 1991 borders, even if the US withdraws support. Earlier last week, he claimed that Kiev had a “plan” that would help bring some “results” on the battlefield by the end of the year.

The president’s recent series of statements follow a bombshell article in The Economist by Zaluzhny earlier this month, in which he conceded that Kiev’s military was unlikely to carry out a “deep and beautiful breakthrough”. The general also said the conflict in its present form could “drag on for years”.

Zaluzhny quickly came under fire from the Zelensky administration, with several media outlets having claimed since the clash that, behind closed doors, Western officials may be pushing Ukraine to finish the conflict, even if that means territorial concessions.

Speaking last Thursday, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov insisted that there was no way the Russian military could be defeated, adding that it was not deadlocked, contrary to Zaluzhny’s assessment.

As for the prospects for peace, the Russian leadership has never ruled out talks with Kiev and President Vladimir Putin repeatedly pointed out that it is Ukraine that is unwilling to engage in dialogue. A decree signed by President Zelensky, which bans any such negotiations, is cited by Moscow as evidence of this.

Last month, Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder claimed that, in March 2022, weeks after the outbreak of fighting, the US government wouldn’t allow Kiev to reach a peace agreement with Moscow – a version of events supported by Russian officials.

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