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Ukraine 'Cannot Afford Any Stalemate' in War With Russia, Zelenskyy Says

FILE - Ukrainian marines sail along the Dnipro river at the front line near Kherson, Ukraine, Oct. 14, 2023.
FILE - Ukrainian marines sail along the Dnipro river at the front line near Kherson, Ukraine, Oct. 14, 2023.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has warned that a stalemate in his country’s war against Russia would create a "volcano that is sleeping but will definitely wake up."

"We cannot afford any stalemate," Zelenskyy told African journalists in Kyiv on Wednesday. "If we want to end the war, we must end it. End with respect so that the whole world knows that whoever came, captured, and killed, is responsible."

According to the Ukrainian president, if the war becomes a stalemate, future generations of Ukrainians will have to fight, because Russia "will come again if it is not put in its place."

Zelenskyy’s comments came two weeks after General Valery Zaluzhny, commander in chief of the Ukrainian military, told The Economist that the war had "reached the level of technology that puts us into a stalemate."

Zelenskyy admitted that the situation on the battlefield remains very difficult but said he does not believe that the war has reached a stalemate. He emphasized that Ukraine will not negotiate with Russia until it completely withdraws from Ukrainian territories.

Also Wednesday, Zelenskyy spoke by phone with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

According to the Ukrainian president’s press service, the two leaders talked about the situation on the battlefield, defense cooperation with an emphasis on strengthening Ukrainian air defense and "increasing the capabilities of mobile fire groups to combat [drones]."

Zelenskyy thanked Canada for a new sanctions package and praised Ottawa's initiative to create an international coalition for the return of deported Ukrainian children. Canada proposed the coalition at a summit of national security and foreign policy advisers on Ukraine's peace formula, held in Malta on Oct. 29.

Zelenskyy and Trudeau "coordinated the next steps regarding the development of this initiative at the highest level."

In other diplomacy, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal held a meeting with Pierre Heillbronn, the French president’s special envoy for Ukraine's relief and reconstruction.

"We discussed the involvement of the private sector in reconstruction. We are preparing specific projects in this direction," Shmyhal said Wednesday. He also thanked France for extending the mandate of the French Development Agency to Ukraine and pointed to "a number of examples of establishing ties between the communities of Ukraine and France."