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Ukraine Wants Peace but Won’t Give Up Its Land to Russia, President Says

Zelenskiy’s administration has voiced frustration at the West’s unwillingness to impose preemptive sanctions after Russia massed more than 100,000 troops near Ukraine’s borders in recent weeks.
Volodymyr Zelenskiy
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy speaks during the annual Munich Security Conference, in Munich, Germany February 19, 2022. REUTERS/Andreas Gebert

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy accused Russia of wrecking peace efforts and ruled out making any territorial concessions in an address to the nation in the early hours of Tuesday.

Zelenskiy spoke after Russia’s decision to formally recognise two Moscow-backed regions of eastern Ukraine as independent and send troops to the region, accelerating a crisis that the West fears could unleash a major war. 

After chairing a security council meeting, Zelenskiy accused Russia of violating Ukraine’s sovereign territory and said it could mean Moscow pulling the plug on the Minsk peace talks aimed at ending the separatist conflict in eastern Ukraine.

Zelenskiy said Ukraine wanted to solve the crisis through diplomacy but that his country was ready to dig in for the long haul.

“We are committed to the peaceful and diplomatic path, we will follow it and only it,” Zelenskiy said. “But we are on our own land, we are not afraid of anything and anybody, we owe nothing to no one, and we will give nothing to no one.”

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