Ukraine savages idea of concessions to end war, evokes appeasement of Nazis

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy savaged suggestions that Kyiv give up territory and make concessions to end the war with Russia, saying the idea smacked of attempts to appease Nazi Germany in 1938.

The angry comments by Zelenskiy come as Ukrainian troops are facing a renewed offensive in two eastern regions that Russian-speaking separatists seized part of in 2014.

The New York Times editorial board said on May 19 that a negotiated peace might require Kyiv to make some hard decisions, given that a decisive military victory was not realistic.

And former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger this week suggested at the World Economic Forum in Davos that Ukraine should let Russia keep Crimea, which it annexed in 2014.

“Whatever the Russian state does, you will always find someone who says ‘Let’s take its interests into account’,” Zelenskiy said in a late night video address.

“You get the impression that Mr Kissinger doesn’t have 2022 on his calendar, but 1938, and that he thinks he is talking to an audience not in Davos but in then Munich.”

In 1938, Britain, France, Italy and Germany sighed a pact in Munich that gave Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler land in the then Czechoslovakia as part of a failed attempt to persuade him to abandon further territorial expansion.

“Perhaps the New York Times also wrote something similar in 1938. But let me remind you, it’s now 2022,” said Zelenskiy.

“Those who advise Ukraine to give something to Russia, these ‘great geopolitical figures’, never see ordinary people, ordinary Ukrainians, millions living on the territory they are proposing to exchange for an illusory peace.”

Italy and Hungary have urged the European Union to call explicitly for a ceasefire in Ukraine and peace talks with Russia, putting themselves at odds with other member states determined to take a hard line with Moscow.

Russia’s foreign ministry spokeswoman earlier said an Italian peace plan for Ukraine was a “fantasy.”

With its invasion now into its fourth month, Russia still has only limited gains to show for its worst military losses in decades, while much of Ukraine has suffered devastation as Moscow steps up strikes to offset its slow progress.

The Russian parliament scrapped the upper age limit for contractual service in the military on Wednesday, highlighting the need to replace lost troops.

In his late night video address, Zelenskiy, commenting on the new Russian enlistment rules, said: “(They) no longer have enough young men, but they still have the will to fight. It will still take time to crush this will.”

via Reuters

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