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Zelensky: The sooner Putin ends the war, the longer he will live

by The Kyiv Independent news desk December 15, 2022 6:00 PM 2 min read
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President Volodymyr Zelensky told the Economist that only Russian dictator Vladimir Putin could “turn the war from a military path to a diplomatic one” by ordering his troops to leave Ukraine. “The sooner the war ends and if Russia chooses the way to recognize the tragic mistake of starting it, the longer the Russian president will secure his life and the life of his entourage,” he said.

Zelensky said that he is against freezing the Russia-Ukraine war. According to him, Ukraine shouldn't stop until it liberates all of its territories occupied by Russia, returning to its internationally recognized borders of 1991, because if it doesn’t, Putin “will come back.” Zelensky said that it has already happened, with Russia first invading Ukraine in 2014 and then launching an all-out war against the country in 2022.

Russia captures “part of the Ukrainian territory and then freezes it (the conflict) for some time, to become more powerful occupiers, ready for more occupation,” he explained.

Zelensky also said that the Budapest Memorandum, under which the U.S., the U.K., and Russia had promised to protect Ukraine’s territorial integrity in return to giving up nuclear weapons, didn’t work, and Kyiv doesn’t currently have any security guarantees.

Zelensky presented a ten-point peace plan to end Russia’s war against Ukraine at the G20 summit on Nov. 15.

The plan envisages preventing ecocide in Ukraine, punishing those responsible for war crimes, withdrawing all Russian troops from the territory of Ukraine, restoration of Ukraine’s territorial integrity, and the release of all prisoners of war and deportees.

The proposals also call for ensuring energy security, food security, and nuclear safety.

Earlier on Dec. 11, U.K. Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said that peace talks between Russia and Ukraine "can just be a fig leaf for Russian rearmament and further recruitment of soldiers."

On Dec. 2, the Institute for the Study of War said that Russia would benefit from negotiations with Ukraine and Western countries that include a ceasefire, allowing it to prepare its military for further offensives against Ukraine.

The White House also said on Dec. 2 that “Putin has shown absolutely no inclination to be interested in dialogue of any kind.”

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