Kiev, March 23 : Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said that Russia’s ultimatum to end the ongoing war can only be met if entire Ukraine was destroyed.
“(Russians say) we have an ultimatum, here are the conditions, do it, and then we end the war. This is wrong and doesn’t lead anywhere. This is not about me. This is about the unity of the people and the government. We, together, are not able to do that. Ukraine cannot meet this ultimatum. We physically cannot do it.
“How can you do that? All of us have to be destroyed, then their ultimatum is met by default,” Ukrayinska Pravda quoted the President as saying during an interview on Monday night.
Zelensky cited examples of when Russian troops took over the cities of Melitopol and Berdyansk, “people didn’t surrender to them”.
“When they raise the flag, people take it down. They (Russian forces) killed a man – yes, people made it to the shelter, but left it at night, and took down the flag.
“What do you want? To destroy all of us? Which is why I replied: we can meet their ultimatum only when there are none of us left,” he added.
For a possible ceasefire agreement, Russian President Vladimir Putin has put forward the following demands — Ukraine’s neutral and non-nuclear status; demilitarisation and denazification; recognition of the occupied Crimea as Russian; and the sovereignty of the so-called “Donetsk People’s Republic” and “Luhansk People’s Republic”.
In response, Zelensky on Sunday said that Ukraine would not compromise its territorial integrity and sovereignty.
Meanwhile on March 17, Mykhailo Podoliak, a presidential adviser, said that reviewing the demands may take several days of negotiations with Russia, after which the preparatory work for a possible meeting between Putin and Zelensky may begin.