Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said his country is more united than ever as it faces the Russian invasion.
“This war, a difficult war, has truly united our nation. You are asking me how’s the situation on the front line … there’s a front line everywhere,” Zelensky said in a briefing on Saturday.
“A few small towns just don’t exist anymore. And this is a tragedy. They are just gone. And people are also gone. They are gone forever. So we are all on the front line. The people who died there, they died among us,” he said.
Zelensky said Ukraine has lost approximately 1,300 troops as of Saturday.
He added that negotiations to end Russia’s invasion of Ukraine “must begin with a ceasefire."
"Our diplomats are working on the details of the agenda of the possible meeting of Ukrainian and Russian delegations," he said. "I would like this to happen. So we can actually, not just on words, start the process of settlement, peace and the end of war."
“This is how the end to war starts in a civilized world,” he said.
Zelensky said that Russian and Ukrainian negotiators have begun to talk rather than "exchange ultimatums” and that he is “pleased” with signals from the Russian Federation.
The Ukrainian president said he was hoping diplomacy could bring peace, saying there was “a signal” coming from the Russian side about being ready to negotiate, although he gave no details on what this signal was.
Zelensky emphasized that Western partners need to be more involved in discussions and even provide their own security guarantees to Ukraine, as Ukraine will “never be able to trust Russia after such a bloody war.”
He hit out at NATO nations for its reluctance to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine, saying that the members “lack the courage to come together for Ukraine” and that there is “no agreed position” on whether Ukraine can join the alliance. Zelensky said his country is grateful for the bilateral support Ukraine has received from certain NATO countries but added that his country is “suffering now.”