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Zelenskyy’s message: No to Russia’s ceasefire feelers, Ukraine needs global support to hold Moscow to account

In a recorded video released today (May 26), Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy flatly rejected any Russian hints of a ceasefire. Speaking from the embattled Ukrainian city of Kharkiv which has been the focus of a new Russian assault in recent weeks, Zelenskyy asserted that Ukraine had the largest experience of “Russian lies” and that Moscow wasn’t interested in genuine peace.
This comes in the wake of recent reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin may be open to a ceasefire along the current battlefield lines. Speaking to Reuters, top Russian sources indicated that while Putin was willing to fight as long as it takes, he was also amenable to a freeze in hostilities. Kyiv has rejected this position, reasserting that the only basis for genuine, lasting peace is Zelenskyy’s Peace Formula, the implementation of which is to be discussed at the upcoming Peace Summit being hosted by Switzerland on June 15.

Around 80 countries are participating in the Switzerland summit with PM Narendra Modi too indicating India’s participation. Russia, however, won’t be part of the discussions. The war in Ukraine is currently facing a delicate moment. Russia’s advances in the Kharkiv region in recent weeks have stretched Ukrainian defensive lines. Plus, Kyiv is facing an acute shortage of weapons – especially air defence platforms – that has allowed Russian forces to wreak havoc on Ukrainian cities and villages. In fact, as Zelenskyy pointed out in his recorded video, Russians have been repurposing their S-400 air defence system to target Ukrainian cities. Add to this the scores of Iranian drones and guided dumb bombs being used by Moscow in this war.
This also indicates that Russia’s military industrial complex has managed to evade Western sanctions, thanks in some measure to Chinese supply of dual-use chemical and input materials. Meanwhile, Ukraine also increasingly faces a manpower crunch and a new mobilisation law that requires even Ukrainians abroad to register with the military has raised eyebrows.
Then there is the added variable of the US presidential elections later this year. The potential return of a Trump presidency and the impact of the same on Ukraine’s future has divided opinions. While some claim Trump might actually be good for Ukraine as he was the first US president to sell lethal weapons to Kyiv, others point to his unpredictable nature and previous disdain for Trans-Atlantic unity.
Plus, with Nato now fully mobilised with some 300,000 troops ready to thwart a Russian incursion in any of the member nations, things are coming to a head. Zelenskyy ruling out a ceasefire shows the gulf of distrust between Kyiv and Moscow. With Both Ukraine and Russia willing to continue the fight, the strategy is to gain favourable positions on the ground before the topic of negotiations can be broached. Ukraine, clearly, doesn’t have enough to go down that road yet.

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