Kiev hopes there will be no war with Moscow, but may cut diplomatic ties with its neighbor, its president says
Despite Russia’s recognition on Monday of Donbass’ breakaway regions as sovereign states and an order to deploy troops there, Ukraine doesn’t believe there will be a war, President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Tuesday.
The Ukrainian leader is considering breaking diplomatic relations with Russia and wants more foreign assistance for his country, he said during a joint press conference with the visiting president of Estonia, Alar Karis.
Here is a recap of what Zelensky said:
There will be no war Ukraine does not consider itself to be at war with Russia, Zelensky said, when asked if he was going to impose martial law in his country. Shortly after Moscow recognized them as sovereign states, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered Russian troops to be deployed to the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics to protect them from potential military retaliation by Ukraine. “We believe there will be no war against Ukraine,” Zelensky stressed. “If there is, we’ll declare a state of war.” Diplomatic ties may be cut The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has asked Zelensky to cut all diplomatic ties with Russia, the president said. “I will be deliberating this issue and others right after this conference,” he said. The Russian Foreign Ministry responded to the warning by saying it had no desire for such a move. “That would be Kiev’s decision,” spokesman Andrey Rudenko said. There will be no troop withdrawal Zelensky rejected the idea of talking to the leaders of the breakaway republics, branding them “terrorist organizations” and stating dismissively that he “didn’t know who they were.” The remark came after a journalist asked whether Ukraine would pull back its troops, as requested by the rebel leaders. Moscow said Kiev’s continued refusal to talk with Donetsk and Lugansk about how they might resolve their conflict was a major factor in its decision to recognize their independence. Nord Stream 2 should be stopped The Ukrainian president said he expected other nations to impose “swift sanctions” on Russia in response to its Monday announcement. In particular, he requested that the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline, which connects Russia to Germany via the Baltic Sea, be banned from pumping fuel. Germany announced on Tuesday that its certification process had been suspended. Kiev and the West have been claiming for years that the pipeline is a “political project” that Russia will use against Ukraine. The latter currently receives billions of dollars annually in transit fees for natural gas that is piped through its territory to Western Europe. Russia committed an act of “judicial aggression” Moscow’s recognition of the breakaway regions was an obvious act of “judicial aggression,” Zelensky said. He claimed it violated the 2015 UN Security Council resolution that enshrined the so-called Minsk Protocol – a roadmap towards reconciliation between Kiev and its rebellious provinces. Moscow said Kiev had been failing for seven years to keep up its end of the bargain, such as implementing a special status for the two regions and issuing a general amnesty for rebel fighters. It alleged that, via that failure, Ukraine had clearly demonstrated it didn’t want to see the regions reintegrated. Ukraine wants membership commitments and more aid The Ukrainian president requested that, in the face of “Russian aggression,” other nations increase their financial and military assistance to his nation. He said the EU and NATO should make it clear to Kiev when it would be allowed to join them. “We hope this year to be a year of definitive decisions on Ukraine’s needs,” he said. Zelensky thanked the Estonian president for remaining a staunch supporter of his country at a difficult moment. “Some diplomats are moving out of Ukraine, while brave leaders of great powers do the opposite and visit to support Ukraine,” he said.
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