Zelenskiy rejects the idea of ​​a “short truce” with Russia

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Ukraine could use its recent victories to force talks to end the conflict, a top US general has said, while a Canadian minister said Ukraine’s military “inspires us all”.

  • AFP and AP, HALIFAX, Nova Scotia

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Friday dismissed the idea of ​​a “short truce” with Russia, saying it would only make the situation worse for Ukraine.

“Russia is now looking for a short truce, a respite to regain strength. Someone may call it the end of the war, but such a respite will only make the situation worse,” Zelenskiy said in remarks broadcast at the Halifax International Security Forum, an annual event that hosts defense and security officials. the security of Western democracies.

“A truly real, lasting and honest peace can only be the result of the complete demolition of Russian aggression,” he added.

Photo: AP

The White House said earlier today that only Zelenskiy can decide when to open peace talks with Russia, dismissing the idea that Washington was pressing Kyiv to negotiate an end to the nearly nine-month war sparked by the invasion. from Moscow in February.

However, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, has suggested in recent weeks that Kyiv could take advantage of battlefield victories against Moscow forces and open talks to end the conflict.

Milley said Wednesday that even though Ukraine has won key successes, Moscow still controls about 20% of the country and troops in Kyiv are unlikely to be able to force the Russians to end the war soon.

Meanwhile, Canada’s National Defense Minister Anita Anand told the forum that Ukraine was winning the war and that Russian President Vladimir Putin had only united NATO and renewed its focus.

“The spirit and determination of the Ukrainian people and of President Zelenskiy continue to inspire us all. Ukraine’s armed forces are motivated, disciplined and better trained – and they are winning,” Anand said.

Russia faces mounting setbacks in nearly nine months of fighting. Moscow recently withdrew its troops from the key city of Kherson in southern Ukraine, but Russian attacks on Ukraine’s energy and power facilities have fueled fears of what winter could bring.

Anand said Putin had mistakenly assumed the Russian military would easily override the Ukrainians and the West would stand idly by.

“Putin misjudged. The large-scale and unprovoked invasion of Russia has only strengthened NATO’s resolve and unity,” she said.

Now in its 14th year, approximately 300 people gather each year at the Halifax forum. Among those present were US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, US Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Jim Risch – who is a senior member of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee – and Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic integration Olga Stefanishyna.

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