Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stressed, on Wednesday, that the return of Russian-controlled Ukrainian territory – Crimea, illegally annexed in 2014, and eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, disputed since the same year – is a prerequisite for peace negotiations.
Zelensky spoke hours after Henry Kissinger, the former US Secretary of State, suggested that ceding some territory would be necessary to end the war that has raged since the Russians began their invasion on February 24.
Kissinger urged Ukraine to cede its occupied territories, and demanded that the West not continue Russia’s crushing defeat to facilitate an end to the conflict. Kissinger said during his video appearance at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, that taking a firm stand in peace talks with Russia could jeopardize European stability in the future.
“Negotiations must begin in the next two months before they lead to turmoil and tensions that will not be easily overcome,” said Kissinger, who will turn 99 on Friday. “Continuing the war after that point will not be about the freedom of Ukraine, but a new war against Russia itself.”
Ukrainians overwhelmingly support Zelensky’s position, According to a recent survey This shows that 82% refuse to give up any land to end the war. post scanIn an effort to assess Americans’ views of the war, he revealed continued support to help Ukraine but not at the expense of the US economy as inflation became a bigger concern.
The latest developments:
His wife, Denis Prokopenko, the commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian army who fought at the steel plant until last week in the southern port city of Mariupol, is alive in Russian-controlled territory, said his wife after a brief telephone conversation between them.
The United States will close off Russia’s last avenue for its billions in debt to international investors on Wednesday, making Russia’s default for the first time in more than a century inevitable. The US Treasury said it does not intend to renew Russia’s license to continue paying its debts through US banks.
On Tuesday, the decomposing bodies of 200 people were found in the basement of a bombed-out apartment building in the devastated Mariupol, authorities said. Municipal councilor Petro Andryushink said local residents rejected Russian demands to collect the bodies of the dead, so the Russian Emergencies Ministry left the bodies in the rubble.
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The United States donates $4 million to a charity to help clear mines in Ukraine
The United States has committed $4 million to support the HALO Trust, a humanitarian charity for landmine removal, to help clear landmines and unexploded Russian bombs in Ukraine, the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine wrote on Twitter Wednesday, retweeting a post from the U.S. State Department. . .
The money will support the deployment of 10 explosive removal teams so families can return to their homes safely, the tweet said.
But Ukrainian officials say they still need additional help from the United States, mostly in the form of weapons.
Ukraine’s foreign minister says the urgency of his country’s weapons needs can be summed up in two acronyms: MLRS – Multiple Launch Rocket Systems, and ASAP – as soon as possible.
Speaking on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, referring to the US leadership, said, “The response I got is, have the Americans already given you that?” “So that is the burden of being a leader. Everyone is looking at you. So Washington has to keep its promise and provide us with multiple launch missile systems as soon as possible. Others will follow.”
— Ella Lee, The Associated Press
Pope Francis saluted the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, stressing the value and wisdom of human life, as the Vatican grapples with strained relations amid the war in Ukraine. Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill is a staunch supporter of the Russian invasion while Francis has called on Russian President Vladimir Putin for an end to hostilities.
“In these days, I pray to our Heavenly Father that the Holy Spirit will renew and strengthen us in the service of the gospel, especially in our efforts to protect the value and dignity of all human life,” Francis wrote to Kirill.
Francis’ efforts to maintain positive relations with Kirill drew criticism from within the Roman Catholic Church this week. Polish Archbishop Stanislaw Jadeki has returned from a visit to Ukraine and called on the Vatican to change its “naive and utopian” policy, saying it would not work in the long run.
Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree simplifying the process of obtaining Russian citizenship for residents of the occupied cities of Zaporozhye and Kherson in Ukraine. The decree reflects the process adopted three years ago for Russian-backed separatists in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine. Kherson is a city of over 280,000 people in southern Ukraine.
“We will integrate (Kherson) as much as possible into Russia,” said Kirill Strimosov, Russia’s designated official in the region. “All residents of the Kherson region will have the right to obtain Russian citizenship and Russian passports.”
The Ukrainian Defense Ministry claims that the Russians are preparing sham referendums to “legitimize” the occupation administrations in the temporarily occupied territories.
As Russia focuses on making gains in the eastern Donbass region in an effort to salvage the turbulent war effort, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is asking for more help—more weapons to combat the attack on four cities.
“The situation in Donbass right now is very difficult,” Zelensky said Tuesday in his nightly video address. “Practically speaking, the entire force of the Russian army, no matter what they have left, is thrown into the attack there. Lyman, Popasna, Severodonetsk, Slavyansk – the occupiers want to destroy everything there. “
He praised the Ukrainian military’s efforts against a much larger enemy, but said continued arms supplies from the West would be required to overcome the Russian advantage. He said that among the equipment needed were multiple rocket launchers and tanks.
Contributing: The Associated Press
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