Ukraine’s Zelensky predicts ‘third World War’ if negotiations with Putin fail
Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky has warned of a “third World War” if talks with Vladimir Putin fail to achieve peace following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“[I]f these attempts fail, that would mean ... a third World War,” Mr Zelensky told CNN via video link on Sunday. The leader also repeated his belief that Russian forces were working to “exterminate” Ukraine’s civilian population.
“Unfortunately, our dignity is not going to preserve lives. So I think that we have to use any format...[to reach] the possibility of talking to Putin,” Mr Zelensky told CNN anchor Fareed Zakaria.
The Ukrainian leader spoke as the one-month anniversary of Russia’s invasion looms this week. Ukraine has resisted the attacks across several fronts and has dealt thousands of casualties to Russia’s armed forces in a matter of weeks, according to US intelligence agencies. The scale is comparable to the US losses in Iraq and Afghanistan over more than a decade.
However Mr Zelensky said that the brutal war was taking a heavy toll on Ukraine’s civilian population. Millions of Ukrainians have fled their homeland in recent weeks.
“We were losing people on a daily basis, innocent people on the ground. ... Russian forces have come to exterminate us, to kill us,” he told CNN.
US lawmakers continue calls for more military and humanitarian aid to be sent to Ukraine as the cost of the Biden administration’s response climbs ever higher.
The US has vowed not to engage in a situation that would lead to a direct military conflict with Russia, but has shipped anti-air, anti-tank and other heavy weaponry to Ukraine’s armed forces. There has been stern warnings for Moscow’s potential allies against doing the same for Russia.
In the last week those warnings culminated in a meeting between White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan and top Chinese officials in Europe over whether Russia would receive economic or military support from Beijing for its invasion. On Sunday, China’s ambassador to the US denied that such aid would occur.