Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in an address on Friday that Russia is lying to its people about having completed its mobilization of reservists, saying that the country is sending its people “to the meat grinder.”
Zelensky said in his remarks to the Ukrainian people that the Russian government is concealing the real number of troops it has lost from its civilians and tried to conceal their mobilization.
“The truth is, in the regions of Russia and on our occupied territory, they continue to collect people to send them to death,” he said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a partial call-up of up to 300,000 military reservists in September to replenish depleted Russian forces. The Kremlin later announced certain occupations would be exempt from the draft after widespread protests occurred across Russia.
Russian officials announced earlier this week that the mobilization has concluded, but Zelensky said Russia is still gathering people to send to the battlefield in Ukraine.
Zelensky said the “absolute insane stubbornness” of Russia’s leaders demonstrates that their claims to be open to negotiations that they have made to foreign leaders are false.
“When someone thinks about negotiations, he does not look for ways to deceive everyone around him in order to send tens or hundreds of thousands more people to the meat grinder – mobilized or in the form of some mercenaries,” he said.
He said it is “very good” the world recognizes Russian rhetoric as a lie and only pays attention to what the country does, not what it says.
Zelensky said Ukrainians are ready for peace and that the world knows his country’s position on what the end of the conflict should look like. He characterized Ukraine’s “formula” for such a peace as comprising respect for Ukrainian territorial sovereignty and the Ukrainian people, as well as punishment “for all those who are guilty” and full Russian compensation for damage incurred by Ukraine amid the war.
Zelensky has insisted that a settlement of the war must include Russia completely withdrawing from Ukrainian territory, and he has expressed optimism about Ukraine’s ability to drive out Russian soldiers, including from the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia has occupied since 2014.
Zelensky’s comments come as White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan visited Kyiv on Friday to announce an additional $400 million military assistance package.