This statement follows reports from NBC, indicating that both U.S. and European officials have been in dialogue with the Ukrainian government, discussing the potential parameters of peace talks with Russia to bring an end to the ongoing conflict.
On Saturday, President Zelenskiy refuted the notion that Ukraine’s war with Russia had reached a “stalemate,” firmly resisting suggestions that Western leaders were advocating for peace talks.
Zelenskiy conveyed his perspective during a press conference in Kyiv, where he was joined by Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission. He stated, “Time has elapsed, and people are weary… Nevertheless, this is not a stalemate.” He further emphasized, “None of our partners are pressuring us to engage in dialogue with Russia, negotiate with them, or make concessions.”
The Commander in Chief of Ukraine, Valerii Zaluzhnyi, recently remarked to The Economist, “Similar to the First World War, we have reached a technological impasse. There will likely be no profound or swift breakthrough.”
However, President Zelenskiy pointed out that back in 2022, Ukrainian forces were believed to be in a stalemate before achieving significant progress. He stated, “A few strategic maneuvers, and, as you may recall, the Kharkiv region was liberated. We are not at liberty to surrender. What is the alternative? Are we to cede a third of our territory? That would merely be the inception. We are acquainted with the ramifications of a protracted conflict, and we have already drawn important conclusions. We need to intensify our collaboration with air defense allies, regain control of the skies, and enable our fighters to undertake offensive operations.”
Now, in its 20th month, with Ukraine facing challenges in advancing its counteroffensive, President Zelenskiy has been engaging with Western leaders consistently, striving to sustain their commitment to the conflict.
He also noted that the recent Israel-Hamas conflict diverted global attention away from Ukraine, emphasizing that this aligns with Russia’s objectives. Zelenskiy stated, “It is evident that the Middle East conflict has shifted the focus away. We have faced challenging circumstances in the past when Ukraine was largely overlooked. However, I am absolutely confident that we will surmount this challenge.”
Ukraine’s supporters, including the United States, have affirmed their readiness to offer military and financial assistance for as long as necessary in the fight against Russia.
Ursula von der Leyen’s visit to Kyiv was dedicated to discussions regarding Ukraine’s progress towards joining the European Union. While Kyiv obtained EU candidacy status several months after Russia’s invasion last year, experts have cautioned that the road to full membership may be lengthy and challenging.
Von der Leyen acknowledged Ukraine’s achievements, stating, “You have accomplished numerous milestones, including judicial reform, curbing the influence of oligarchs, combating money laundering, and more.” She further added, “We must never forget that you are engaged in an existential struggle while simultaneously transforming your nation.”
The European Commission has proposed an additional €50 billion ($54 billion) in funding for Ukraine until 2027, as confirmed by Von der Leyen. Virtually all EU member states have expressed support for extended, long-term assistance to Kyiv, with only Hungary and Slovakia holding reservations.
The European Commission is now tasked with submitting a report on Ukraine’s progress, as well as that of other EU hopefuls Moldova and Georgia, ahead of the bloc’s summit in December.