Volodymyr Zelensky vowed to continue fighting through the winter after Kherson was recaptured

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has outlined his terms for a peace settlement to end the war with Russia, rejecting some Western suggestions that Kyiv should compromise with Moscow on its borders.

While Zelensky said on Tuesday he was open to peace talks, he stressed he would not stop fighting over the winter. His comments follow suggestions by some US officials, including the military commander, Gen. Mark Milley, that winter may provide an opportunity to begin negotiations with Russia and that Ukraine may never be able to expel Russian forces from all of its territory.

“We will not allow Russia to wait until it finishes, mobilizes its forces and then begins a new series of terrorism and global destabilization,” Zelensky said in a video address to the G20 summit in Bali. He added, “I am now convinced that it is the right time for the devastating Russian war and it must stop.”

Some Western diplomats have privately argued that talks could begin on the basis of a frontline that broadly predates Russia. Ukraine invasion On February 24, 2014, Russia annexed Crimea and ignited a war in the eastern Donbass region using local proxy forces.

The suggestions came as Ukrainian forces managed to recapture Kherson last week, dealing a major blow to the Russian military that has occupied the southern province’s capital since March. Zelensky visited the city on Monday. Ukraine has regained more than half of its territory captured by Russian forces since February 24.

“It’s like D-Day – the Allied landing in Normandy,” Zelensky said, greeting the people of Kherson and overseeing the return of the Ukrainian flag over the city.

The state news agency, RIA Novosti, quoted Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying that Zelensky’s plan was confirmation that Kyiv “does not want negotiations.” Russian President Vladimir Putin did not attend the G20, and his foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, did not attend.

Echoing his previous demand for the complete withdrawal of Russian forces, Zelensky called for the release of all prisoners of war and Ukrainians forcibly deported by Moscow.

He added that energy security will be central to Ukraine’s success and achieving a lasting peace. About 40 percent of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure has been destroyed by Russian missile and drone strikes since early October.

“Every week, Russia blows up power plants, transformers and electricity supply lines,” Zelensky said.

Ukrainian officials have confirmed in recent days that they intend to continue the fight, despite conflicting messages from the West about whether it is time to look more seriously at negotiations with Russia.

In a call Monday, Ukraine’s military chief, Gen. Valeriy Zalogny, told his US counterpart, Milley, “We will fight as long as we have the strength.” He said that Ukraine would go ahead with the government’s goal of liberating all Ukrainian lands occupied by Russian forces. We will not stop on this path under any circumstances. Zaluzhny was quoted as telling Mellie that the Ukrainian military would not accept any negotiations, agreements or concessions.

After Milley’s remarks, the US National Security Adviser, Jake Sullivan, said that “as long as Russia maintains the position that they can simply take as much territory as they want by force, it is hard to see them as a bona fide counterparty in the negotiations.”

US President Joe Biden and other top US officials recently confirmed that they will continue to provide Ukraine with lethal military aid, with another package expected in the coming weeks.

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