Russia is seeking a “brief truce” according to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who on Saturday warned Western leaders not to believe this could mean “the end of the war.”
“The end of the war does not guarantee peace. Russia is now looking for a brief truce, a breather to regain strength,” Zelenskyy said in a speech at the 2022 Halifax International Security Forum. “Someone can call this the end of the war. a breather will only make the situation worse.”
Zelenskyy’s comments show he is unwilling to stop fighting until his forces have fully withdrawn the invading troops from Ukrainian territory, including Crimea, which has been occupied by Russia since 2014.
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It is unclear when or if Russia formally requested a “brief truce” following several battlefield defeats as the winter months approach.
Top US defense officials including Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin suggested this week that wars during the winter generally slow down, historically speaking, which it could provide Kyiv with an opportunity to enter into peace talks with Moscow. .
But Zelenskyy has rejected previous calls for peace talks and has been adamant that such negotiations could not take place until invading Russian forces leave Ukraine.
“Any idea expressed of the concessions of our land or of our sovereignty cannot be called peace,” he said on Saturday. “Immoral compromises will give rise to new blood.”
“A truly real, lasting and honest peace can only be the result of the complete demolition of Russian aggression,” he added.
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Zelenskyy has outlined a 10-step “peace formula” that he urged Western leaders on Saturday to help implement to end the war permanently.
The strategy not only calls for Russia to withdraw all troops from Ukraine and a tribunal to address war crimes, but lists nuclear, food and energy security as top items of importance.
Zelenskyy’s list also includes environmental initiatives to restore destroyed land and forests, a prisoner exchange, the forcible return of deportees and a post-war security plan to prevent another Russian attack.
“These are challenges that must be overcome for the sake of the security of Ukraine, Europe and the world. This is the formula for peace for the world,” he said.
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Zelenskyy first presented his 10-step plan at the G-20 conference earlier this month, but on Saturday called on defense officials to help Ukraine implement the plan.
“This is the only path to real peace,” he said.