The Ukrainian leader said Russia would use a pause in fighting to rest and prepare for a new offensive
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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned Russia would capitalize on any ceasefire to give its troops rest and to re-equip its military. He claimed that a break in fighting would prolong the war.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Zelensky said, “Freezing the conflict with the Russian Federation means a pause that gives the Russian Federation a break for rest. They will not use this pause to change their geopolitics or to renounce their claims on the former Soviet republics.”
Zelensky predicted a ceasefire would only last a few short years, then Moscow would resume its offensive. Russia “will rest and in two or three years, it will seize two more regions and say again: Freeze the conflict. And it will keep going further and further. One hundred percent,” he said.
The statements by Zelensky come as Russia has slowly captured a fifth of Ukraine’s territory. The US and its allies have sent billions in increasingly advanced weapons to Kiev. However, even long-range rocket systems have proven inadequate in aiding Ukrainian forces to retake territory.
Zelensky believes his forces will turn the tide and drive Russian troops out of Ukraine. He said, “The society believes that all the territories must be liberated first, and then we can negotiate about what to do and how we could live in the centuries ahead. Our people are convinced we can do it. And the faster we do it, the fewer will die.”
Russia President Vladimir Putin said last week that Ukraine proposed a workable offer in March, but Kiev broke off talks in April. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson met with Zelensky in Ukraine shortly before negotiations ended. Ukrainska Pravda reported Johnson discouraged Zelensky from making an agreement with Moscow.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced last week the Kremlin plans to seize more of Ukraine’s territory because of the Western arms transfers. “Now the geography is different, it’s far from being just the DPR [Donetsk] and LPR [Luhansk], it’s also Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions and a number of other territories,” the Russian foreign minister said.
* Kyle Anzalone is the opinion editor of Antiwar.com, news editor of the Libertarian Institute, and co-host of Conflicts of Interest.
Published at news.antiwar.com
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