KIEV, December 1. /TASS/. Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky on Wednesday said he won’t be able to stop the armed conflict in Donbass without holding direct talks with Russia.
‘’We need to tell the truth that we won’t be able to stop the war without holding direct talks with Russia,’’ he said during his annual state-of-the-nation speech at the Verkhovna Rada, the country’s parliament. ‘’All the external partners have acknowledged that but some of the internal ones haven’t.’’
‘’We need to speak [with Russia] knowing that we have strong and powerful armed forces,’’ he went on to say.
Zelensky said Ukraine is aware which European countries support its government in earnest and which only pretend to do so.
Russia has repeatedly said it’s not a party to the conflict in Donbass and is only a mediator.
In May, Zelensky said he was ready for a dialog with Russian President Vladimir Putin and said his office started talks with the Russian side to set up a meeting. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov later said the talks were challenging. In April, Putin said the government in Kiev should first talk with the leadership of the Lugansk and Donetsk self-proclaimed republics to resolve the conflict. Putin said he was ready to meet Zelensky at the Kremlin to talk about bilateral ties.