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17 May, 2024 11:17

Zelensky dismisses Macron’s Olympic truce proposal

A ceasefire during the games is “unviable,” the Ukrainian president has said
Zelensky dismisses Macron’s Olympic truce proposal

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has dismissed as unfeasible the idea of an Olympic truce, days after French President Emmanuel Macron discussed it with him in a phone call.

Paris is hosting the Summer Olympics from July 26 through August 11. Macron has been advocating a ceasefire in all armed conflicts in the world during that period, particularly the one between Ukraine and Russia. He brought up the idea on Tuesday, when the two leaders discussed an incoming delivery of French weapons to Ukraine.

Speaking to journalists on Friday, Zelensky said he was skeptical about the French proposal.

“A ceasefire would not prevent military hardware from getting closer and then turning the offensive on. I don’t understand the details. To me it sounds like an unviable story,” he was quoted by the press as saying.

In the early stages of the conflict, there were several attempts to suspend the fighting on specific dates, such as during major Orthodox Christian holidays. Both sides accused the other of violating such arrangements. Moscow is similarly reluctant to make a new attempt.

“Both our president and our military officials have pointed out that the Kiev regime usually uses such ideas and initiatives to regroup, rearm, etc. This certainly makes considering such initiatives much harder,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in mid-April.

The UN General Assembly traditionally passes a resolution calling for a global truce during every Olympic Games. Those proposals have no enforcement mechanism and are often ignored by parties engaged in hostilities.

Zelensky arguably has more to win from a hypothetical ceasefire at this time. Russian forces have been gaining ground for months and have made a rapid advance in the northern Kharkov Region since last Friday. The US Department of State on Thursday described the situation as “incredibly dire” for Kiev.