Ukraine wants peace but won’t cede territory to Russia, says president

KYIV, Feb 22 (Reuters) – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy accused Russia of undermining peace efforts and ruled out territorial concessions in an address to the nation in the early hours of Tuesday.

Zelenskiy spoke after Russia’s decision to formally recognize two Moscow-backed regions of eastern Ukraine as independent and send troops to the region, accelerating a crisis the West says could start a major war. Read more

After chairing a Security Council meeting, Zelenskiy accused Russia of violating Ukraine’s sovereign territory and said that could mean that Moscow would end Minsk peace talks aimed at ending the separatist conflict in the country. eastern Ukraine.

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Zelenskiy said Ukraine wanted to resolve the crisis through diplomacy but his country was ready for a long-term commitment.

“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 or anyone, we owe nothing to anyone and we will not give anything to anyone.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy speaks during the annual Munich Security Conference, in Munich, Germany, February 19, 2022. REUTERS/Andreas Gebert

He called for an emergency summit of the leaders of Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France while urging Ukraine’s allies to take action against Russia.

A Reuters witness saw unusually large columns of military equipment pass through the separatist city of Donetsk after Russian President Vladimir Putin told the Russian Defense Ministry to send forces to the two regions to “maintain peace”.

Russia’s actions have drawn condemnation from the United States and Europe and wishes for new sanctions, although it was not immediately clear whether the Russian military action would be seen by the West as the start of a full-scale invasion. The area was already controlled by separatists backed by Russia and Moscow in practice.

Zelenskiy’s administration has expressed frustration with the West’s reluctance to impose preemptive sanctions after Russia has massed more than 100,000 troops near Ukraine’s borders in recent weeks.

“We expect clear and effective support measures from our partners,” Zelenskiy said. “It is very important to see who our true friend and partner is, and who will continue to scare the Russian Federation with words.”

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Reporting by Pavel Polityuk, Maria Tsvetkova, Matthias Williams; Edition by Lincoln Feast.

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