Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi has sharply rejected suggestions that the government in Kyiv should make territorial concessions to Russia to end the war. “Whatever the Russian state does, there will always be someone who says: let’s take their interests into account,” said Zelenskyy in a video speech late in the evening.
Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger suggested at the World Economic Forum in Davos this week that Ukraine should cede Crimea, annexed in 2014, to Russia. “One gets the impression that Mr. Kissinger does not have the year 2022 on his calendar, but the year 1938, and that he believes he is not speaking in Davos but in Munich to an audience from that time.”
In 1938 Great Britain, France, Italy and Germany concluded a pact in Munich which granted Adolf Hitler land in what was then Czechoslovakia in order to persuade him to refrain from further territorial expansion. “Those who advise Ukraine to give something to Russia, these ‘great world political figures’, never see the ordinary people, the ordinary Ukrainians, the millions living in the territory they want to trade for an illusory peace.”
The Ukrainian newspaper The Kyiv Independent also rejects suggestions that Ukraine would have to make “painful territorial decisions” in order to end the conflict. The newspaper “The New York Times” published an editorial on May 19 in which a “decisive military victory” by Ukraine, in which the country regains the territories occupied by Russia, is considered unrealistic.
“As a newsroom that witnessed the war in Ukraine, we want to set things right,” writes The Kyiv Independent. “Ukraine’s belief in victory is not based on hubris.” It is based on “necessity”.
Meanwhile, fighting in eastern Ukraine continues. According to Ukrainian sources, Russian troops have attacked more than 40 towns in the Donbass, threatening the last major escape route for civilians from eastern Ukraine.
In the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, more than 47 civilian facilities were destroyed or damaged, the Ukrainian armed forces said on Facebook on Thursday. Among them are 38 houses and a school. “As a result of the shelling, five civilians were killed and twelve injured.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Russian soldiers “far outnumbered” their own troops in some parts of the east. Russia is focusing its offensive on the Donbass after failing to capture Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, or its second-largest city, Kharkiv. Now his troops are trying to completely conquer Donbass, where pro-Russian separatists have had the Donetsk and Luhansk regions largely under control since 2014.