Volodymyr Zelenksy rejects Henry Kissinger call to give up territory to end war

·2-min read
Mr Zelensky rejected Henry Kissinger’s comments  (AFP via Getty Images)
Mr Zelensky rejected Henry Kissinger’s comments (AFP via Getty Images)

Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenksy has strongly rebuffed calls by former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger for Ukraine to cede territory to Russia in order to end the war.

Mr Kissinger, speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, called for a return to the “status quo ante” whereby Crimea would remain annexed from Ukraine.

Ukraine was annexed by Russia in 2014 in a move multiple states, including the UK, view as illegal.

Hitting back at the suggestion to return to pre-war borders, the Ukrainian president said he would not listen to “those who are in a hurry for another meeting with the dictator”, in a reference to Vladimir Putin.

“Behind all these geopolitical speculations of those who advise Ukraine to give away something to Russia, ‘great geopoliticians’ are always unwilling to see ordinary people,” Mr Zelensky said.

“Millions of those who actually live in the territory they propose to exchange for the illusion of peace. You must always see people.

“No matter what the Russian state does, there is always someone who says: let’s take its interests into account. This year in Davos it was heard again.

“Despite thousands of Russian missiles hitting Ukraine. Despite tens of thousands of Ukrainians killed.”

In his speech in Davos, the 98-year-old former White House official called for peace talks to begin in the near future, adding: “In my view, a movement towards negotiations on peace needs to begin in the next two months or so.

“The outcome of the war should be outlined by them before it creates upheavals and tensions that will be even harder to overcome, particularly between the eventual relationship of Russia towards Europe and of Ukraine towards Europe.

"Ideally, the dividing line should return to the status quo ante.

“I believe pursuing the war beyond that point could turn it into a war not about the freedom of Ukraine, which has been undertaken with great cohesion by Nato, but into a war against Russia itself, and so this seems to me to be the dividing line, that it is just impossible to define. It will be difficult."

Although Ukraine has not ruled out holding talks, Kyiv has rejected handing over any territory to Russia.

Instead, Ukraine’s presidential chief of staff, Andriy Yermak said the country’s territorial integrity must be restored in full.

Since withdrawing forces from Kyiv and central Ukraine, Russia has refocused efforts in the east, specifically the Donbas.

Prior to the war, Russia backed seperatist movements in Donetsk and Luhansk which have since been declared as independent breakaway states.

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