A stalemate with Russia is “not an option”, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told Britain’s Financial Times newspaper on Tuesday, reiterating a plea for foreign help in the war.

Ukraine’s fierce resistance of Russia’s all-out invasion of its neighbour led to a stalemate in parts of the country, with Moscow subsequently re-focussing its forces in the east.

“Victory must be achieved on the battlefield”, he said as he repeated his call for Western military support.

“We are inferior in terms of equipment and therefore we are not capable of advancing,” he told the paper. “We are going to suffer more losses and people are my priority.”

Asked what Ukraine would consider a victory, Zelensky said restoring the borders Ukraine controlled before Russia’s invasion on February 24 would be “a serious temporary victory”.


But he said the ultimate aim was the “full de-occupation of our entire territory”.

Russia’s annexation of the Crimean Peninsula in 2014 was followed by a conflict with Moscow-backed pro-Russian separatists, who took control of large areas in the east of Ukraine.

Asked about talks with Russia, which have been suspended since late March, Zelensky said he had not changed his position, adding that war should be ended at the negotiating table.

He said he was ready for direct talks with Vladimir Putin, adding that there was “nobody else to talk to” but the Russian president.

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