President Volodymyr Zelensky warned of more fighting and no early end to Ukraine’s war with Russia, saying only Ukrainian success on battlefields, and not negotiation can bring peace.
The Ukrainian leader made the remarks in an evening address to the nation on March 30.
“We need peace, but it will come only when we will have a strong position on the battlefield. Our spirit is strong, we are sufficiently decisive, but we need help now,” Zelensky said, in a renewed appeal to NATO states to provide Ukraine heavy weapons.
Zelensky and other senior officials have repeatedly acknowledged the debt Ukraine owes western states led by the US for delivering to Kyiv light weapons including anti-tank missiles and small arms ammunition, which have helped Ukraine Armed Forces (UAF) units fight Russian Federation (RF) forces to a standstill, and at scattered localities even launch counter-attacks.
Zelensky said that, despite recent reports of possible progress in ceasefire talks in Istanbul, the Kremlin fully intends to launch new offensives aimed at destroying the Ukrainian state, and that Ukrainians will fight to the last.
”RF force levels in the Donbas are rising to support new attacks. We are ready for them. We don’t believe in pretty words and statements. There is only the real situation on the battlefield. This is the main thing. We will give away nothing. And we will fight for every meter of our land, and for every one of our people,” he said.
Expressing frustration common among Ukrainians with European unwillingness to give Ukraine tanks, combat jets, artillery and other heavy weapons, purportedly because Ukrainians don’t really need such weapons, Zelensky said: “If someone wants to act like they can they can teach our UAF how to fight, the best way for them to do that, is to go to the battlefield themselves.”
Former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in comments to western media last week said the present level of western arms support to Ukraine – consisting primarily of anti-tank weapons, light anti-aircraft missiles and small arms and ammunition – is a recipe for a bloody stalemate in Ukraine’s war with Russia, because it would leave the Kremlin unable to capture Ukraine’s major cities or overcome the UAF in the field, and Kyiv unable to inflict military defeats serious enough to compel Moscow to seek peace.
Like Zelensky, Poroshenko criticized the NATO policy of avoiding a military confrontation with Kremlin at all costs, even if that leaves Ukraine to fight Russia on its own. This NATO strategy has given Russian forces a free hand to bombard Ukrainian cities and towns, killing thousands of Ukrainian civilians and destroying – thus far – an estimated one trillion dollars’ worth of Ukrainian homes, businesses and critical infrastructure.
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