‘Never going to happen’: Ukraine blasts trading land for peace

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

“Symptomatic editorials have also emerged in some Western media saying that Ukraine must accept so-called difficult compromises by ceding its territory in exchange for peace. Perhaps, the New York Times wrote something similar in 1938. But let me remind you that now is still the year 2022,” said Zelenskyy.

Italy and Hungary have urged the European Union to call explicitly for a ceasefire in Ukraine and peace talks with Russia, putting themselves at odds with other member states determined to take a hard line with Moscow.


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