Zelensky brands Russians 'terrorists' as he rules out peace talks
Volodymyr Zelensky brands Russian invaders ‘terrorists’ as he rules out peace talks with Putin’s regime until its forces pull out of Ukraine
- Zelensky denied Western officials had suggested holding peace negotiations
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said today that he was ‘not ready’ for talks with Russia unless its troops withdraw from his country, denying Western officials had suggested holding peace negotiations.
He was commenting on reports that US and European officials had spoken with his government about negotiations to end the war, and after a senior Ukrainian commander said the conflict was deadlocked.
‘(The United States) know that I am not ready to speak with the terrorists, because their word is nothing,’ Zelensky said in an interview with NBC’s Meet the Press.
‘For today, I don’t have any relations with the Russians, and they know my position,’ he said, adding: ‘They have to go out from our territory, only after that, the world can switch on diplomacy.’
He said the conflict had reached a ‘difficult situation’, but again denied that it was deadlocked.
Zelensky was commenting on reports that US and European officials had spoken with his government about negotiations to end the war, and after a senior Ukrainian commander said the conflict was deadlocked
‘On the frontline, it is not a secret, we don’t have air defence. That’s why Russia controls the sky. If they control all the sky, until the moment when we get air defence, we can’t move quickly forward,’ he said.
The sprawling frontline between the two warring sides has barely moved in almost a year, despite Ukraine launching a counteroffensive in June to claw back Russian-occupied territory.
Zelensky has regularly met Western leaders to try to secure more air defences and stave off fatigue with the conflict, which has now lasted for more that 600 days.
He told a news conference in Kyiv with EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen yesterday that the war between Israel and Hamas had also drawn attention away from Ukraine, and said that this was ‘Russia’s goal’.
‘Of course, it’s clear that the war in the Middle East, this conflict, is taking away the focus,’ Zelensky said.
The EU Commission chief visited Kyiv to discuss Ukraine’s progress toward joining the 27-member bloc.
Kyiv received EU candidacy status several months after Russia invaded last year, but analysts have warned it faces a long and difficult path to membership.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky meets with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in Kyiv. European Commission President arrived in Kyiv to discuss Ukraine’s accession to the EU
‘You have reached many milestones,’ von der Leyen told Zelensky.
‘Reforming your justice system. Curbing the oligarchs grip. Tackling money laundering and much more,’ she said.
‘We should never forget you are fighting an existential war, and at the same time you’re deeply reforming your country,’ she added.
She said she was ‘confident’ Ukraine would progress with the accession process when these reforms were implemented.
The EU Commission has proposed an additional 50 billion euros (£43 billion) in funding for Ukraine until 2027, von der Leyen said.
It came as Ukraine destroyed one of Putin’s newly-built warships in a daring missile strike in Russian-annexed Crimea.
The downed vessel was named as the newly-built Askold missile ship, one of the most modern in Putin’s navy.
Footage shows the strike hit Butoma shipyard in Kerch, close to Putin’s major bridge linking the annexed peninsula to Russia
Russian and Ukrainian media reports say that Askold, Russia’s newest missile carrier (pictured), was hit in 4 November 2023 missile attack on Crimea
Moscow admitted to losing a ship in an attack by 13 cruise missiles, but did not specify which one.
Footage shows the strike hit Butoma shipyard in Kerch, close to Putin’s major bridge linking the annexed peninsula to Russia.
Since launching its counteroffensive against Moscow’s forces this summer, Kyiv has ramped up attacks on the peninsula in a bid to suppress Russia’s Black Sea naval fleet.
According to state media, Russia’s defence ministry said: ‘On November 4, the Ukrainian army launched 15 cruise missiles at the B.E. Butoma (Zaliv) shipyard in the city of Kerch.
‘Air defence systems shot down 13 of the cruise missiles. As a result of being hit by an enemy cruise missile, a ship located at the plant was damaged.’
The ministry did not say how badly the ship was damaged or name which ship was attacked.
Debris from the downed missiles also fell on a nearby dock, but no-one was injured, Crimea’s Russian-installed governor Sergei Aksyonov said.
The nearby Crimean bridge to the Russian mainland was briefly shut on Saturday for undisclosed reasons.
Ukraine announced the attack on Saturday and confirmed details on Sunday.
‘On the evening of November 4, the Armed Forces of Ukraine carried out successful strikes on the maritime and port infrastructure of the Zaliv shipyard in the temporarily occupied Kerch,’ it said.
Mykola Oleshchuk, commander of Ukraine’s Air Force, referred to the Russian Black Sea Fleet flagship sunk by Ukrainian missiles on April 14, 2022 in a Telegram post, in which he said: ‘I hope another ship has followed the Moskva.’
The moment Russian ‘Zaliv’ ship building factory in Kerch, Crimea was hit
Moscow admitted to losing a ship in an attack by 13 cruise missiles
The Askold is a Project 22800 Karakurt warship, and three are being built at the Russian-occupied shipyard
Ukrainian sources later indicated the destroyed vessel was the Kalibr-missile carrying 197ft-long Askold, which was poised to enter service, or one of two others of the same Karakurt class.
Some accounts say it was struck three times by the French version of the Storm Shadow missile.
‘The ship has not even taken part in sailing or combat yet – it was undergoing some final testing work, so that it could then go to sea and fight against our state,’ said Ukrainian air force spokesman Yuriy Ignat.
The Askold is a Project 22800 Karakurt warship, and three are being built at the Russian-occupied shipyard.
READ MORE: Ukraine launches daring new kamikaze drone attack in bid to destroy Russia’s major £3bn bridge to Crimea
Some accounts say the Askold had moved to Novorossiysk, like many Russian Black Sea warships, further from Ukraine’s missile range.
The other two being built in Kerch are the Amur and Cyclone, and like the Askold were due in service this year.
The loss comes as footage emerged of a Russian test launch of a Bulava nuclear-capable sea-based intercontinental missile.
The launch was from the White Sea by Russia’s new nuclear-powered submarine Imperator Alexander III.
‘Firing a ballistic missile is the final element of state tests, after which a decision will be made to accept the cruiser into the Navy,’ said a defence ministry statement.
It hit a target nine time zones away close to the Pacific Ocean.
The 40ft Bulava missile, with an estimated 5,000 mile range, can carry up to six nuclear warheads.
It has become the cornerstone in the naval part of Russia’s nuclear triad.
The Sevastopol headquarters of Putin’s Black Sea Fleet was destroyed in a missile strike on 22 September.
Nine days earlier Ukrainian missiles hit the £250 million Kilo-class attack submarine Rostov-on-Don and large landing ship Minsk in a repair shipyard in naval port Sevastopol.
Multiple warships have been damaged, the most embarrassing for Putin being the Moskva frigate – Black Sea Fleet flagship – which was sunk in a strike by Ukrainian Neptune missiles.
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