Ukraine fury as EU and US allies suggest Zelensky should hand Putin disputed land
Putin ally makes scathing Ukraine admission
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Ukraine was forced to rule out a ceasefire or any territorial concessions to Moscow after some in the West suggested it as a way to speed up peace negotiations and the end of the war.
Kyiv’s lead negotiator, Volodymyr Zelensky adviser Mykhailo Podolyak, ruled out any territorial concessions and rejected calls for an immediate ceasefire in an interview with Reuters on Saturday, saying any concessions would backfire because Russia would use the break in fighting to come back stronger.
Recent calls for an immediate ceasefire have come from US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
An editorial piece in the New York Times last week also suggested that “a decisive military victory for Ukraine over Russia, in which Ukraine regains all the territory Russia has seized since 2014, is not a realistic goal”.
French President Emmanuel Macron also reportedly asked Mr Zelensky to give up some land to Putin in exchange for peace.
Counteracting their calls, Polish President Andrzej Duda offered Warsaw’s backing, telling MPs in Kyiv on Sunday that the international community had to demand Russia’s complete withdrawal and that sacrificing any territory would be a “huge blow” to the entire West.
“Worrying voices have appeared, saying that Ukraine should give in to Putin’s demands,” Mr Duda said, the first foreign leader to address the Ukrainian parliament in person since Russia’s February 24 invasion.
“Only Ukraine has the right to decide about its future.”
Ukraine and Poland agreed to establish a joint border customs control and work on a shared railway company to ease the movement of people and increase Ukraine’s exports.
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Most Ukrainian refugees have crossed to the European Union through border points in Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania.
The end of fighting in Mariupol, the biggest city Russia has captured, gave Vladimir Putin a rare victory after a series of setbacks in nearly three months of combat.
Full control of Mariupol gives Russia command of a land route linking the Crimean Peninsula, which Moscow seized in 2014, with mainland Russia and parts of eastern Ukraine held by pro-Russia separatists.
Russian soldiers entered Mariupol’s Azovstal steel-works on Sunday, the last Ukrainian stronghold, and began clearing mines and debris from the destroyed complex.
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Along with sanctions, Western nations have stepped up weapons supplies and other aid to Ukraine, including a new $40 billion package from the United States.
Moscow says Western sanctions and aid for Kyiv amount to a “proxy war” by Washington and its allies.
Putin calls the invasion a “special military operation” to disarm Ukraine and rid it of radical anti-Russian nationalists.
Ukraine and its allies have dismissed that as a baseless pretext for the war, which has killed thousands of people in Ukraine and displaced millions.
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