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Zelensky urges Trump to share Ukraine peace plan but says he won’t cede territory to Russia


Volodymyr Zelensky urged Donald Trump to publicly share his peace plans if the former US president had a way to end the war between Ukraine and Russia – but the Ukrainian president warned in an interview on Tuesday that any plans to peace in which Ukraine cedes territory would be unacceptable.

“He can publicly share his idea now, without wasting time, without losing people, and say: ‘My formula is to stop the war, to stop all this tragedy and to stop Russian aggression,'” he said. Zelensky told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer after his speech. Tuesday at the United Nations General Assembly. “And he said, how he sees it, how to drive the Russians out of our country. Otherwise, it does not present the overall idea of ​​peace.”

The Ukrainian president added: “So (if) the idea is how to take part of our territory and give it to Putin, that is not the formula for peace. »

Trump, the frontrunner for the Republican nomination in the 2024 presidential election, said he would be able to reach a deal with Zelensky and Russian President Vladimir Putin to end the war in Ukraine within 24 hours. Asked Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press” whether the deal would allow Putin to keep the land he took, Trump replied: “No, no.” I would make a fair deal for everyone. No, I would just be.

Trump, asked at the time whether this would constitute a victory for Putin, replied: “You know, it’s something that could have been negotiated.” Because there were certain regions, Crimea and other regions of the country, that many people expected. You could have made a deal. So they could have made a deal where the territory would currently be less than what Russia has already conquered, to be honest.”

Zelensky’s visit to the United Nations comes as Ukraine faces the worst challenges yet faced by the United States over support for the war. A faction of the Republican Party conference in the House of Representatives is openly hostile to the idea of ​​providing additional military aid to Ukraine, and it remains unclear whether House Speaker Kevin McCarthy will be willing to approve additional funding.

In the interview, Zelensky gave a positive assessment of Ukraine’s current counter-offensive, which has raised concerns about its failure to achieve the expected results. And he reiterated Ukraine’s desire to get long-range missiles from the United States, something President Joe Biden is still considering, saying it would be “a loss” for Ukraine if it did not receive them .

“We are at the finish line, I am sure,” Zelensky said.

Zelensky told Blitzer he plans to meet with McCarthy during his trip to Washington later this week. Asked about skeptics about offering more funding to Ukraine, Zelensky said it was difficult for those who did not see the war up close to compare domestic issues such as civil rights or energy to the existential threat facing an attacked country.

“It is so difficult to understand when you are at war and when you are not at war,” Zelensky said. “Even when you come to war, to a country at war, when you arrive one day, you can understand more than you live, you hear, you think, you read. No, you can’t compare. It’s a different situation. This is why I think we cannot compare these challenges.

Biden last month asked Congress to approve an additional $24 billion in emergency spending for Ukraine and other international needs. While there is bipartisan support for the funding plan in the Senate, there is no indication yet that the Republican-led House will play along.

After his Tuesday speech to the United Nations General Assembly, Zelensky is heading to Washington, D.C., where he will speak with Biden at the White House, as well as visit the Capitol. Zelensky addressed a joint meeting of Congress in a surprise appearance last December.

Zelensky’s trip to Capitol Hill this week gives him a chance to make a personal pitch to skeptical lawmakers to approve more war aid. The Ukrainian leader is expected to speak at a meeting of all senators, although a similar meeting is not planned in the House.

McCarthy, who is expected to meet with Zelensky along with other House leaders, declined Tuesday to commit to providing more funds to Ukraine.

“Was Zelensky elected to Congress?” Is he our president? I do not think so. I have questions: Where is the accountability for the money we have already spent? What is this plan for victory? » declared the California Republican.

‘Nobody knows’

Asked if a major breakthrough was possible this year in Ukraine’s military counteroffensive, Zelensky replied: “I don’t think anyone knows, really.”

“But I think we will be more successful,” he said, highlighting the progress Ukraine has made in the east.

Zelensky said he remained focused on obtaining more long-range missiles from the United States, arguing that Ukraine did not want them to target Russia but wanted to maintain the level of capabilities on the battlefield between the two sides.

Biden is expected to soon make a final decision on sending the Army’s Long-Range Tactical Missile Systems, also known as ATACMS, CNN reported earlier this month.

“It would be a loss for us” if the weapons were not provided to us, Zelensky said, adding that it would lead to “more casualties on the battlefield and elsewhere.”

He also reiterated the need for more air defense systems, particularly the US-made Patriot air defense system, saying they were needed to help protect civilian areas.

Zelensky downplayed tensions between U.S. and Ukrainian officials over Ukraine’s military strategy in Russian-occupied Crimea when asked about Washington officials’ skepticism about intensifying air strikes. missiles by Ukraine in an attempt to disrupt Russian logistics and resupply efforts.

“We think the same way,” he said.

Zelensky nevertheless defended this strategy.

“Temporarily occupied Crimea – this is a place where they store weapons to kill our civilians,” he said. “They are shooting from Crimea into our territory. And of course we have to see where their rockets are coming from, and we have to basically deal with it.

This story has been updated with additional details.