Zelensky: I’ll speak to Putin directly about ending the war

Ukrainian president tells participants at World Economic Forum that he’s willing to engage in negotiations about ending the war only with Vladimir Putin.

By World Israel News Staff

Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky said on Tuesday that he was unwilling to meet with any Russian official besides President Vladimir Putin in order to engage in negotiations around ending the invasion of his country.

Speaking through an interpreter via video link at the World Economic Forum Conference in Switzerland, Zelensky said he “cannot accept any kind of meeting with anyone coming from the Russian Federation but the president.”

Zelensky added that he was willing to speak with Putin “only in the case when there is one issue on the [table]: stopping the war. There are no other grounds for any other kind of meeting.”

Since the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in late February, Ukrainian and Russian officials have sporadically met to discuss an end to the hostilities, but the meetings have been fruitless so far.

The Ukrainian leader insisted that Putin is the only person in the Russian government with the authority to stop the war.

“The president of the Russian Federation decides it all,” Zelensky said. ”If we are talking about ending this war without him personally, that decision cannot be taken.”

Zelensky urged the conference participants to ramp up sanctions and economic pressure against Russia, charging that financially isolating Moscow was critical for setting a precedent that would discourage future aggression by international powers.

Sanctions…should be maximum so that Russia and every other potential aggressor who wants to wage a brutal war against its neighbor would clearly know the immediate consequences of their actions,” he said.

He added that Ukraine had sustained serious, long-term economic damage during the invasion and encouraged the international community and businesses to participate in the country’s reconstruction.

“We have more than a half a trillion dollars in losses, and tens of thousands of facilities destroyed,” Zelensky said. “We need to rebuild entire cities and industries.”