This handout photograph taken and released by Ukrainian Presidential press service shows Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaking to servicemen during his visit to the newly liberated city of Kherson/Photo: AFP
KYIV: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said a “real and complete cessation of hostilities” will result if Russia withdraws all of its troops from Ukraine and restores Ukrainian control to his country’s territory along the border with Russia.
Speaking virtually to a summit of leaders from the Group of 20 nations in Bali, Zelenskyy said delays in bringing an end to the conflict mean the deaths of more Ukrainians and more threats to the world.
“I am convinced now is the time when the Russian destructive war must and can be stopped,” Zelenskyy said.
The Ukrainian leader’s comments followed his visit Monday to the newly liberated city of Kherson where he told Ukrainian troops that the country is “ready for peace.”
Zelenskyy’s appearance in Kherson came just days after Russian troops retreated from the southeastern city, one of the war’s biggest losses for Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose troops had controlled the regional capital since near the start of the war in February.
U.S. President Joe Biden, speaking at a news conference in Indonesia, called the Ukrainian takeover of Kherson “a significant victory” for the government in Kyiv.
“I can do nothing but applaud the courage, determination and capacity of the Ukrainian people and Ukrainian military,” Biden said. “They have been amazing.”
But he said the Western allies supporting Ukraine would not force a settlement on Ukraine to end the war. He said there would be “nothing about Ukraine without Ukraine” agreeing to it.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov declined Monday to comment on Zelenskyy’s visit to Kherson but said, “this territory is part of the Russian Federation.”