If there were no Russian aggression, the residents of occupied Donetsk, Luhansk and the Crimea would live in a united Ukraine. This was stated by the President of Ukraine in an interview with the Slovak business media Hospodárske noviny, the Office of the Head of State reports.
Zelensky told about the relationship with the Russian Federation. "We have complicated relations with Russia. The war in the Donbass has been going on for the seventh year. Russia annexed our Crimean peninsula. At the same time, historically, we had a lot of economic and human contacts that had to be painfully cut off. The war in eastern Ukraine claimed more than 14 thousand people's lives, crippled tens of thousands of destinies, destroyed families, took away homes of millions. To talk about normalization is to rubber-stamp complex processes. In this case, this is the process of negotiations to achieve peace", - the President said.
The head of state noted that it was possible to establish a real ceasefire only this year. "It lasted 42 days, until two serious provocations occurred: as a result, one of our soldiers was killed, two were wounded. However, even after that, the Ukrainian army had the courage and wisdom to maintain the truce - the longest in six and a half years. I understand how uneasy it is, and exhale with relief, opening reports on the situation in the Donbass every day. But I also understand how effective this ceasefire is: the endless process of our military and civilian losses has stopped, local residents have heard "silence" for the first time in many years, and this has a great psychological effect. Believe me, everyone is already tired and wants peace. Now the main task for everyone is to move from stable ceasefire to a sustainable peace", - Zelensky explained.
He also recalled that negotiations between the leaders of the Normandy Four: Ukraine, Germany, France and Russia, which had not been held for three years before, were restored last year. "We will not be able to achieve peace without these negotiations, without a dialogue with Putin", - the head of state said.
"We managed to return almost 150 people from captivity during the year of my presidency - from Russia and the occupied territories. We deployed troops in the Donbass in three positions, we are actively demining the territory. An agreement on the admission of the ICRC to the occupied territory of Donbass was reached at a meeting of advisers to the Normandy format leaders on September 11. Ukraine is interested in peace most of all, because the war is on our territory. But there must be a movement of two sides on the way to peace, and the key steps must be taken by Russia, which controls the occupied territories of Ukraine. We would like to see more Moscow's desire to accelerate achieving peace", - Volodymyr Zelensky said.
The President noted the need for Western support for Ukraine. "Of course, the war continues only on 3% of our territory, but we still need the support of the West. The war in the Donbass destabilizes the situation on the entire continent. This is a loss for the economy and human capital", - the head of state noted.
"All wars end someday. The question is how long they last, how many lives they take, how much suffering they bring. We are 100% sure that the Ukrainian cities - Donetsk and Luhansk - are our cities, our people are there, just as in the Crimea by the way. If not for external interference, then Donetsk, Luhansk and the Crimea lived normally in our unified state system", - Volodymyr Zelensky stated.