Ukraine’s president also demands that Western leaders provide him with more planes if a no-fly zone is not imposed.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has urged his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, to hold direct talks and end Russia’s invasion of his country, while also urging the West to increase military aid to Kyiv.
Speaking to journalists at his heavily fortified office in Kiev on Thursday, Zelenskyy warned the West that if Putin’s military offensive succeeds, Russia may advance to the rest of Europe.
“I don’t want to talk to Putin,” Ukraine’s president stated. “I need to speak with Putin.” The international community must speak with Putin. There isn’t anything else.
“Sit with me, just not 30 metres away,” he added, referring to Putin’s reception of world leaders at an enormously long table.
Putin launched the Russian invasion of Ukraine last week, calling it a “special military operation” aimed at deposing the country’s “neo-Nazis.”
The West retaliated with unprecedented sanctions against Moscow, but Russian forces are still attacking Ukrainian cities, including the capital, Kyiv, in the north, Kharkiv, in the east, and the port cities of Kherson and Mariupol in the south.
Thousands of people have been killed or injured in the eight-day conflict, which has forced over a million refugees to flee to neighbouring countries.