Zelensky fears peace pressure from West – NYT

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky worries that Western backers may ramp up pressure to negotiate an end to Kiev’s conflict with Russia

Zelensky fears peace pressure from West – NYT

The Ukrainian president has reportedly told his diplomats that benefactors may push for a negotiated truce with Russia

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky is reportedly worried that Western nations may ramp up pressure to negotiate a peace agreement with Russia, ending a bloody conflict that has killed tens of thousands of Kiev’s troops in just the past two months.

“As furious battles raged across the front lines of Europe’s bloodiest war in decades, Mr. Zelensky told his ambassadors on Wednesday that things would grow even more difficult as pressure was likely to build in the coming months to find a negotiated path to peace,” the New York Times reported on Saturday.

The Ukrainian president described Wednesday’s gathering in Kiev with diplomats as an “emergency strategy session” heading into this weekend’s Ukraine peace summit in Saudi Arabia, the newspaper said. “The meeting is the starting point of what is expected to be a major Ukrainian diplomatic push in the coming months to try to undercut Russia.

Zelensky told his ambassadors that they must use every available tool – “official and unofficial, institutional and media, cultural diplomacy and the power of ordinary human sincerity” – to convince both allies and neutral nations that “the only road to a lasting peace is complete Russian defeat,” according to the report.

However, many of the nations attending the summit in Saudi Arabia have resisted US pressure to take sides in the crisis, seeing the conflict as a “contest between superpowers” in which they want no part. “This is not only a conflict between Russia and Ukraine,” said Celso Amorim, an adviser to Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. Speaking remotely on Saturday at the Saudi-hosted summit, he added: “This is also a chapter in the longstanding rivalry between Russia and the West.”

Russian officials have argued that Kiev’s Western backers are only prolonging the bloodshed in Ukraine by continuing to send billions of dollars’ worth of weapons to the former Soviet republic. More than 43,000 Ukrainian troops have been killed since Kiev began a counteroffensive in the Donbass region in early June, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Friday.

Russian and Ukrainian negotiators were reportedly near a peace deal at talks hosted by Türkiye in March 2022, a little more than a month after the conflict began. “After we pulled troops back from Kiev, as we promised,” Ukrainian leaders “threw it all away, into the garbage dump of history,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a meeting with African leaders in July.