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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

No peace deal now – Zelensky

Any agreement with Russia would be a “trap”, the Ukrainian leader claimed in an interview with The Guardian.

Any peace deal with Russia would be a “trap”, Ukraine’s Vladimir Zelensky claimed in an interview with The Guardian.

Zelensky is currently promoting a “peace summit” that Switzerland is organizing on his behalf in mid June. He previously claimed that he insisted on excluding Russia from the event because otherwise it would “hijack” it. There is a legal ban on any talks with Russia in Ukraine as long as President Vladimir Putin remains in power.

During the hour-long interview, which the British newspaper summarized on Friday, Zelensky reiterated his opposition to signing any treaty with Moscow, stating that Putin “could not be believed” to stick to it. Any pause in hostilities would be used by Russia to “strengthen its muscles on the battlefield,” he predicted.

“[Putin] is not crazy, yes, you understand? He is dangerous. And it’s much more scary,” he said in a mix of English and Ukrainian, according to an excerpt from the interview released by the news outlet.

Russia has rejected the summit in Switzerland as a “scam” meant to deceive neutral nations into supporting Kiev’s “peace formula.” The document is in reality a demand for Russian capitulation that is totally detached from the reality on the ground, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry.

Moscow and Kiev were on the brink of sealing a truce in the early weeks of the conflict, when Türkiye served as a mediator in the talks. Under the preliminary terms, Ukraine would have become a neutral state with a restricted military in exchange for international security guarantees.

The Zelensky government then chose to keep fighting, hoping that Western military assistance would help it prevail over Russia on the battlefield. David Arakhamia, who headed the Ukrainian delegation during negotiations in Istanbul, later acknowledged that then-British Prime Minister Boris Johnson made the Ukrainians reconsider.

This week, the US reportedly lifted its previous ban on using weapons donated to Ukraine to strike targets outside of what Washington and Kiev consider Ukrainian territory. The decision was not formally announced, but was reported in the Western press. The new rules were apparently issued due to Moscow’s advances in the Kharkov Region of Ukraine, and apply to that sector of the front, along with Russia’s Belgorod Region on the border.

 

Russian Defense Minister Andrey Belousov reported on Friday that Moscow’s troops have pushed the front line in the Kharkov Region back 8-9km. The operation is meant to erode Kiev’s ability to attack Russian territory with shorter-range weapons, such as rocket artillery and drones.