Ukraine denounces trading land for peace

May 26, 2022: President Volodymyr Zelenskyy angrily denounced suggestions that Ukraine should cede control of territory to Russia in order to reach a peace agreement.

Zelenskyy compared such a move with the appeasement of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany.

Those “great geopoliticians” who suggest this are disregarding the interests of ordinary Ukrainians – “the millions of those who actually live on the territory that they propose exchanging for an illusion of peace”, Zelenskyy said late on Wednesday in his nightly video address to the nation.

The comments came as Ukrainian troops face a renewed offensive in two eastern regions that Russian-speaking separatists seized part of in 2014.

The New York Times editorial board said on May 19 a negotiated peace might require Kyiv to make some hard decisions, given a decisive military victory was not realistic.

And former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger this week suggested at the World Economic Forum in Davos that Ukraine should let Russia keep Crimea, which it annexed in 2014.

“Whatever the Russian state does, you will always find someone who says, ‘let’s take its interests into account’,” Zelenskyy said.

“In Davos, for example, Mr Kissinger has emerged from the deep past and said that part of Ukraine should be given to Russia to avoid the alienation of Russia from Europe. It seems that Mr Kissinger has 1938 on the calendar instead of 2022 and he thought that he was addressing the audience in Munich of those times, instead of the audience in Davos.”

In 1938, Britain, France, Italy and Germany signed a pact in Munich that gave Hitler land in the then Czechoslovakia as part of a failed attempt to persuade him to abandon further territorial expansion.

Meanwhile, Russia’s foreign ministry spokeswoman earlier said an Italian peace plan for Ukraine was a “fantasy”.

“You can’t supply Ukraine with weapons with one hand and come up with plans for a peaceful resolution of the situation with the other,” Maria Zakharova said at her weekly briefing, referring to the Italian initiative.

Italian foreign minister Luigi Di Maio gave the broad outlines of the plan last week. The Kremlin said on Tuesday it had not seen the initiative but hoped to receive it through diplomatic channels.

Zakharova said of the reported proposal: “If they hope that the Russian Federation will seize on any Western plan, then they haven’t understood much.”

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