Ukraine President, Volodymyr Zelensky urges Trump to share peace plan, rejects territory concession to Russiain an interview on Tuesday. Zelensky called on Donald Trump to make his peace plans public if the former US president possesses a viable solution to resolve the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia. However, President Zelensky emphasized that any proposed peace agreement that involves Ukraine relinquishing its territory would not be acceptable.
"He can publicly share his idea now, not waste time, not to lose people, and say, 'My formula is to stop the war and stop all this tragedy and stop Russian aggression,'" Zelensky said, after his speech Tuesday at the United Nations General Assembly. "And he said, how he sees it, how to push Russian from our land. Otherwise, he’s not presenting the global idea of peace."
The Ukrainian president added: "So (if) the idea is how to take the part of our territory and to give Putin, that is not the peace formula."
Donald Trump, currently the leading candidate for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, has asserted that he could broker a deal with both Volodymyr Zelensky and Russian President Vladimir Putin to bring an end to the conflict in Ukraine within 24 hours. When questioned during an appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press" about whether such a deal would allow Putin to retain the territory he has already seized, Trump responded, "No, no. I would negotiate a fair deal for everyone. I'd ensure fairness."
At that time, Trump was asked if this approach would be seen as a victory for Putin, to which he replied, "You know, that's something that could have been negotiated. Because there were certain parts, Crimea and other parts of the country, that a lot of people expected could happen. You could have made a deal. So they could have made a deal where there's lesser territory right now than Russia's already taken, to be honest."
Zelensky's visit to the United Nations coincides with Ukraine facing significant opposition within the United States regarding its support for the war. A faction within the House GOP is openly opposed to providing any further military aid to Ukraine, and there is uncertainty surrounding whether House Speaker Kevin McCarthy will approve additional funding.
Zelensky expressed optimism regarding Ukraine's ongoing counteroffensive, despite concerns that it may not be yielding the anticipated outcomes. He also reaffirmed Ukraine's strong desire to acquire long-range missiles from the United States, a decision that President Joe Biden is currently evaluating. Zelensky emphasized that not obtaining these missiles would be seen as a significant setback for Ukraine.
"We are on the finishing line, I'm sure of that," Zelensky said.
Zelensky said that he intends to meet with McCarthy during his upcoming trip to Washington later this week. When questioned about individuals who are hesitant to provide additional funding to Ukraine, Zelensky remarked that it is challenging for those who have not experienced the harsh realities of war firsthand to draw comparisons between domestic issues like civil rights or energy and the existential threat confronting a nation under siege.
It's so difficult to understand when you are in war, and when you are not in war. Even when you come to the war, to the country which is in war, when you come to one day, you can understand more than you live, you hear, you think, you read. No, you can’t compare. It's different situation. That’s why I'm thinking we can't compare these challenges.- Volodymyr Zelensky
Last month, President Biden requested Congress to allocate an additional $24 billion in emergency funding for Ukraine and other international priorities. While there is bipartisan support for this funding package in the Senate, there are no indications yet that the Republican-controlled House is willing to cooperate.
Following his address at the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, Zelensky is heading to Washington, D.C., where he will engage in discussions with President Biden at the White House and pay a visit to Capitol Hill. It's worth noting that Zelensky made a surprise appearance and addressed a joint meeting of Congress last December.
Zelensky's visit to Capitol Hill this week provides him with an opportunity to personally persuade skeptical lawmakers to approve additional aid for the ongoing conflict. The Ukrainian leader is scheduled to speak at a meeting with all senators, although a similar meeting is not currently planned for the House.
House Minority Leader McCarthy, who is expected to meet with Zelensky alongside other House leaders, declined on Tuesday to commit to providing more funding for Ukraine.
"Was Zelensky elected to Congress? Is he our president? I don’t think so. I have questions for where's the accountability on the money we’ve already spent? What is this the plan for victory?" the California Republican said.
Donald Trump speaking into a microphone
When asked about the possibility of a significant breakthrough in Ukraine's military counteroffensive this year, Zelensky responded, "I think nobody knows, really."
"But I think that we will have more success," he added, highlighting the progress Ukraine has made in the eastern regions.
Zelensky reiterated his focus on acquiring more long-range missiles from the United States, emphasizing that Ukraine's aim is not to target Russia but to maintain a balanced battlefield capability between the two sides.
Biden is expected to make a final decision soon regarding the provision of long-range Army Tactical Missile Systems, also known as ATACMS.
Zelensky stressed that it would be a significant setback for Ukraine if these weapons were not supplied, emphasizing that it would lead to "more casualties on the battlefield and elsewhere."
Furthermore, he reiterated the urgent requirement for additional air defense systems, with a particular emphasis on the US-manufactured Patriot air defense system, as they are crucial for safeguarding civilian areas.
When questioned about concerns raised by US and Ukrainian officials regarding Ukraine's military strategy in Russian-occupied Crimea, Zelensky played down tensions. He addressed skepticism from Washington officials about Ukraine's increased missile strikes aimed at disrupting Russian logistics and resupply efforts.
"We think the same way," he said.
Still, Zelensky defended the strategy.
Temporary-occupied Crimea - it's a place they store weapons to kill our civilians. They're shooting from Crimea into our territory. And of course, we have to see where their rockets are coming from, and we have to basically deal with it.- Volodymyr Zelensky