Kyiv is ready for any scenario in eastern Ukraine, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said, calling on Russia to go back to substantive diplomatic talk.
"We are ready for a development of events, take into account the fact that the war against us has been going on since 2014. And it is a cruel war using drones, artillery, armored vehicles, and mines. […] Since the start of my work in the post of president we have done everything possible to intensify the talks and look for a peaceful solution. We are always ready to go back to substantive diplomatic talk, we encourage Russia to do the same," Zelensky said in an interview with the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, the text of which is available for viewing on the presidential site.
According to the head of state, "the primary protection is to prevent the expansion of aggression, so Ukraine needs the most effective support."
Zelensky said in the past three months alone, Ukraine has lost about 30 military personnel, and civilians in Donbas continue to die.
"On the eastern border and in the Crimea, Russia has deployed about 80,000 troops, to which should be added another 30,000 pro-Russian militants and the official military of Russia in Donbas. It is definitely not in the interests of Europe that such a military potential could be used for its intended purpose, like this Moscow will want. The expansion of the war can only bring new suffering and problems to everyone, and no one will benefit from it," he said.
The president also expressed the hope that it is possible to prevent the deterioration of the situation and the "expansion of the war." "What is needed for this? Realism of positions, fairness in negotiations and a willingness to fulfill the obligations that are taken by the parties. Ukraine offers just such an approach. The main thing is that Russia does the same," Zelensky said.