Henry Kissinger is living in 1938, says Volodymyr Zelensky, as he warns against appeasing Russia

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Volodymyr Zelensky has warned the West against appeasing Russia - Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
Volodymyr Zelensky has warned the West against appeasing Russia - Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

Volodymyr Zelensky has crushed calls for Ukraine to cede some of its territory to Russia, comparing it to the appeasement of Adolf Hitler in the run-up to the Second World War.

In his daily address to the nation late on Wednesday, Mr Zelensky pushed back against increasing calls for Ukraine to seek peace with the Kremlin while resigning itself to letting Russia rule the territory it has captured.

It comes after Henry Kissinger, the veteran US statesman, told world leaders gathered in Davos that the West should push Ukraine into making concessions to Vladimir Putin, warning that humiliating Russia could have disastrous consequences for the long-term stability of Europe.

“No matter what the Russian state does, there is always someone who says: let’s take its interests into account,” Mr Zelensky said.

“It seems that Mr Kissinger's calendar is not 2022, but 1938, and he thought he was talking to an audience not in Davos, but in Munich of that time”.

The Ukrainian president said the call was akin to the discredited Nazi appeasement policies promoted by Neville Chamberlain and the Munich Agreement.

He also referred to the family history of Mr Kissinger, who had to flee Nazi Germany as a teenager.

“He was 15 years old, and he understood everything perfectly. And nobody heard from him then that it was necessary to adapt to the Nazis instead of fleeing them or fighting them.”

The 98-year-old Henry Kissinger gives a speech on stage - Adam Berry/Getty Images
The 98-year-old Henry Kissinger gives a speech on stage - Adam Berry/Getty Images

Mr Kissinger, the 98-year-old former US secretary of state and architect of Cold War rapprochement, whom Mr Putin reportedly holds in high esteem, said the war in Ukraine must be stopped as soon as possible.

“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,” he said.

Officials in Kyiv last week were also angered by an editorial in the New York Times suggesting that Ukraine will “have to make the painful territorial decisions” to end the war.

In a rival editorial, The Kyiv Independent, Ukraine’s leading English-language publication, lashed out at the suggestion, arguing that appeasement would only embolden Mr Putin whose ambitions of taking over Ukraine have grown since the first Russian incursion in Ukraine in 2014.

“Allowing Russia to annex Crimea emboldened Russia to try to swallow the Donbas. When it invaded in 2014, carving up a sovereign state and killing civilians, the other world leaders’ tepid response made Russia’s bloody dictator feel empowered to do more,” the Kyiv Independent said.

Three months after Russian tanks rolled into Ukraine, the war is now mostly contained to the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in eastern Ukraine, parts of which have been overrun by Kremlin-backed separatists since 2014.

Russia appears to have given up its attempts to take Ukraine’s largest cities, Kyiv and Kharkiv, but it still controls large swathes of eastern Ukraine where occupation administrations have indicated that they were preparing for an outright Russian annexation.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting