There’s no need to fear Russia's ultimatums or take them seriously, the Ukrainian president has said
The threat of a nuclear conflict does exist, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky told Czech Television (CT) on Wednesday, adding, though, that he does not see it as a likely possibility. There is no need to be afraid of Russia, the Ukrainian leader added.
“I do not think we should be afraid of that,” he told journalist Michal Kubal when asked about the possibility of a nuclear war. “We must not take their [Russian] ultimatums and pressure… seriously.”
Kiev will not make any compromises with Moscow, Zelensky added. “We will just settle for victory,” he said, adding that “the Russians must retreat” from all the territories Kiev considers a part of Ukraine, “including Crimea.”
“If they [the Russians] do not leave Donbass and Crimea, it would not mean the end of the war,” the Ukrainian president stated, adding that “each side” would just amass their forces in preparation for a new conflict instead of ending it through “diplomacy and negotiations.”
Zelensky also said the fact that Ukraine had not created a “strong security” and defense system in over 30 years of its independence was Kiev’s “biggest mistake.” At the same time, he noted that there are nations that still push Ukraine toward a compromise with Russia. He did not name the countries but said that “it is not a new situation to us,” and that Kiev would not give in to their “pressure.”
Moscow has repeatedly signaled that it was ready for negotiations with Kiev to end the conflict. In October, however, Zelensky signed a decree officially rejecting peace talks with the Russian president.
In late September Putin vowed to defend Russia’s territory and people using “all the forces and resources we have.” The remarks were widely interpreted by Western pundits and officials as a veiled nuclear threat.
The Russian president later pointed out that Moscow had never threatened to use nuclear weapons. His words, however, did not alleviate fears in the West. US President Joe Biden, who had previously warned of a “nuclear Armageddon” continued to question why Russia keeps “talking about” nuclear weapons if it does not plan to use them.