Zelensky Criticizes Calls for Ukraine to Cede Territory to Russia in Peace Bid

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky criticized calls to exchange territory for a peace settlement with Russia, and again called for Kyiv’s partners to provide it with weapons to win the war.

In a video posted to his social media channels on May 25, Zelensky said Ukraine’s interests must not be usurped by politicians in a hurry to resume relations with Russia.

Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said at the Davos forum this week that Ukraine should be prepared to negotiate with Russia for peace.

“Ideally, the dividing line should be a return to the status quo ante. Pursuing the war beyond that point would not be about the freedom of Ukraine, but a new war against Russia itself,” Kissinger said on May 23, adding that Ukraine should be a neutral buffer state, according to reports of his remarks.

“No matter what the Russian state does, there is always someone who says: let’s take its interests into account,” Zelensky wrote in an Instagram post accompanying the video. “This year in Davos it was heard again. Despite thousands of Russian missiles hitting Ukraine. Despite tens of thousands of Ukrainians killed. Despite Bucha and Mariupol, etc. Despite the destroyed cities. And despite the ‘filtration camps’ built by the Russian state, in which they kill, torture, rape and humiliate like on a conveyor belt. Russia has done all this in Europe.”

The Ukrainian president also referred to a May 19 New York Times editorial that called for Kyiv to be prepared to cede territory in order to prevent a war between the United States and Russia.

He said both were stuck in the 20th Century, when it was normal for powerful countries to trade “the interests of nations” for “attempts to appease the appetites of dictators.”

“We must do everything possible for the world to get a permanent habit of taking Ukraine into account,” he said, according to a translation accompanying the video. Zelensky criticized what he characterized as “great geopoliticians” who are unwilling to see ordinary people and Ukrainians who live in the territory they propose to give to Russia. Credit: Volodymyr Zelensky via Storyful