“We will get everything back”: Selenskyj: They broke the backbone of the Russian army

“Will bring us all back”
Zelenskyj: They broke the backbone of the Russian army

Fierce fighting continues to plague Ukraine. But President Zelenskyy believes his country has “broken the backbone” of the invading Russian army. However, he also believed that war could only be ended through diplomacy.

Despite the defeat in the port city of Mariupol, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy believes that the Ukrainian army has inflicted serious damage on the Russian armed forces. Ukraine “broke the backbone of the Russian army,” Zelensky said in a television interview. “They won’t be able to bounce back for the next few years,” the 44-year-old said.

Shortly before, more than 2,400 Ukrainian defenders in the port city in the southeast of the country had surrendered and been taken prisoner by Russia. Zelenskyy stressed that Kyiv would take everything back. Returning to the front before February 24 – the day the war of Russian aggression began – would already be counted as a victory. “It means they are not conquering us and we are defending our country,” said the head of state.

But getting there will be very difficult. In the end there is diplomacy. The war will be “bloody, there will be fierce fighting, but it will only end in diplomacy,” the head of state told Ukrainian broadcaster ICTV. “There are things we can only achieve at the negotiating table.” The outcome of the negotiations should be “fair” for Ukraine. According to Zelensky, there should be a document on security guarantees for Ukraine, signed “by friends and partners of Ukraine, without Russia.” At the same time there should be “bilateral discussions with Russia”.

Negotiations postponed

Since the start of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine in late February, Ukrainian and Russian negotiators have initially met regularly for negotiations or to discuss resolving the conflict via video conference. According to Russian news agencies, the last meeting of the chief negotiators of the two countries took place on April 22 – a month ago.

Russia blamed Ukraine for the impasse. “Talks have indeed not progressed and we note that Ukrainian negotiators have absolutely no desire to continue this process,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in Moscow on Wednesday. Earlier, Ukraine said talks had been suspended because of Russia’s stance. Moscow does not understand “what is going on in the world and its very negative role,” said Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podoliak.

According to its foreign minister, Italy has meanwhile developed a plan for a peaceful solution to the Ukraine war. “We now need a diplomatic counter-attack,” Luigi Di Maio told the newspaper “La Stampa”. He criticized that only individual states are currently trying to mediate. Now they want to invite all relevant international organizations to cooperate. The first objective is to achieve a local break in the battle. This should be followed by a ceasefire, work on neutrality and finally a peace deal.

Di Maio pessimistic

The plan was developed by diplomats and the Italian government and presented to negotiators from the seven most important industrialized countries (G7), Di Maio said. He also spoke with UN Secretary-General António Guterres. The UN, EU and OSCE should include other countries such as Turkey and India as the main working group.

However, Di Maio is pessimistic about the current situation in negotiations with Russia: “I don’t want to look like a fortune teller, but I don’t see negotiations at any table,” he said. “Individual actions will not persuade Vladimir Putin to negotiate.”

Ambrose Fernandez

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