Zelensky: ‘I’m ready for negotiations’ with Putin, but if they fail it could mean ‘World War III’

“I’m ready to negotiate with him. I was ready for two years. And I think without negotiations we can’t end this war,” he told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria.

“I think we have to use any format, any chance in order to have a possibility to negotiate, a possibility to talk to Putin. But if these attempts fail, it would mean that it is a third world war “, he added.

Zelensky has called for more negotiations in recent days as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine nears its fourth week. In a video message released on Saturday, he called for talks “without delay”, warning that otherwise Russia’s losses would be “enormous”.

“We have always insisted on negotiations. We have always offered dialogue, offered solutions for peace,” he said. “And I want everyone to hear me now, especially in Moscow. It’s time to meet. It’s time to talk. It’s time to restore territorial integrity and justice for Ukraine.”

Zelensky previously said his priorities in the talks were clear: “End of the war, security guarantees, sovereignty, restoration of territorial integrity, real guarantees for our country, real protection for our country.” .

Zelensky also told Zakaria on Sunday that if Ukraine “were a member of NATO, a war would not have started.”

“I would like to receive guarantees of security for my country, for my people. If the members of NATO are ready to see us in the alliance, then do it immediately. Because people are dying every day,” he said. he said, adding that he was grateful for the help NATO had provided since the invasion began.

Yet last week Zelensky hinted that he does not expect his country to join NATO anytime soon, which has been a Ukrainian goal.

NATO, a security alliance currently made up of 30 North American and European nations, was created in 1949 in response to the onset of the Cold War. Its original purpose was to protect the West from the threat posed by the Soviet Union.

Since the end of the Cold War, many former Soviet satellite states and three former Soviet republics have joined NATO, meaning Russia now shares a land border with the world’s largest military alliance.

“We are trying to defend our sovereignty”

When asked how he was doing during the war, Zelensky told CNN he “does exactly everything everyone else does in Ukraine.”

“We built our team to defend our country, so it seems to me that the person doesn’t need to turn into someone else. It’s important when you can be yourself,” he said. -he declares. “So I’m holding up pretty well,” he added.

Zelensky also admitted that his weakest point as of now is losing people and children in those “huge numbers”.

“I will sleep with this information about the children who have been killed and we continue to pray to avoid further loss of people, but so far we have not achieved these results,” he said, adding that “we are trying to defend our sovereignty, defend our country.”

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said on Sunday that since the start of the war, 11 girls and 25 boys have been killed.

Asked about Putin’s claims that the Ukrainian government is full of neo-Nazis, Zelensky told Zakaria it shows the Russian president “could be capable of very horrific measures.”

“I’m not scared of anything but people, but the fact – the fact is if he’s serious about that statement, he might be able to take some very awful steps because that would mean it’s not is not a game for him,” Zelensky said.

This story has been updated with additional reaction and context.

CNN’s Chris Liakos contributed to this report.


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