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Zelensky urges Trump to share peace plan for Ukraine, but says he will not cede territory to Russia | CNN Politics


Volodymyr Zelensky urged Donald Trump to publicly share his peace plans if the former US president finds a way to end the war between ukraine and russia – but the Ukrainian president warned in an interview on Tuesday that any peace plan in which Ukraine gives up territory would be unacceptable.

“Now you can publicly share your idea, without wasting time, without losing people, and say, ‘My formula is to stop the war and stop all this tragedy and stop Russian aggression,'” Zelensky told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, following his speech on Tuesday at the United Nations General Assembly. “And he said, how do you see it, how to expel the Russians from our land. Otherwise, he will not be presenting the global idea of ​​peace.”

The Ukrainian president added: “So (if) the idea is how to take part of our territory and give it to Putin, that is not the formula for peace.”

Trump, the front-runner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, has said he could reach a deal with Zelensky and Russian President Vladimir Putin to end the war in Ukraine within 24 hours. Pressed on Sunday NBC’s “Meet the Press” On whether the deal would allow Putin to keep the land he has taken, Trump said: “No, no. I would make a fair deal for everyone. No, he would make it fair.”

Asked at the time whether it would be a victory for Putin, Trump said: “You know, that’s something that could have been negotiated. Because there were certain parts, Crimea and other parts of the country, where a lot of people expected it to happen. You could have made a deal. So, to be honest, they could have reached a deal where right now there is less territory than Russia has already taken.”

Zelensky’s trip to the United Nations comes as Ukraine faces its biggest hurdles in the United States to date over support for the war. A faction of the House Republican conference is openly hostile to providing Ukraine with any additional military aid, and it is not yet clear whether House Speaker Kevin McCarthy will be willing to approve more funding.

In the interview, Zelensky gave a positive assessment of Ukraine’s ongoing counteroffensive, which has raised concerns that it is not achieving the expected results. And he reiterated Ukraine’s desire to obtain long-range missiles from the US, which President Joe Biden is still consideringsaying it would be “a loss” for Ukraine if it does not receive them.

“We are at the finish line, that’s for sure,” Zelensky said.

Zelensky told Blitzer that he plans to meet with McCarthy when he travels to Washington. later this week. When asked about skeptics about offering more funding to Ukraine, Zelensky said it was difficult for those who had not seen the war up close to compare internal issues like civil rights or energy with the existential threat facing a country. under attack.

“It’s very difficult to understand when you’re at war and when you’re not,” Zelensky said. “Even when you arrive at war, at the country that is at war, when you arrive one day, you can understand more than what you live, hear, think, read. No, it cannot be compared. It’s a different situation. That’s why I think we can’t compare these challenges.”

Last month, Biden asked Congress to approve an additional $24 billion in emergency spending for Ukraine and other international needs. While there is bipartisan support for the funding package in the Senate, there is still no sign that the Republican-led House will cooperate.

Following his speech Tuesday at the UN General Assembly, Zelensky will travel to Washington, DC, where hold talks with Biden at the White House, along with a visit to the Capitol. zelenski addressed a joint meeting of Congress in a surprise appearance last December.

Zelensky’s trip to Capitol Hill this week gives him a chance to make a personal pitch to skeptical lawmakers to get them to approve more war aid. The Ukrainian leader is scheduled to speak at a meeting of senators, although a similar meeting is not planned in the House.

McCarthy, who is expected to meet with Zelensky and other House leaders, declined Tuesday to commit to more funding for Ukraine.

“Was Zelensky elected to Congress? Is he our president? I do not think. I have questions about where is the responsibility for the money we have already spent? What is this the plan for victory? the California Republican said.

‘Nobody knows’

Asked whether a breakthrough was possible this year in Ukraine’s military counteroffensive, Zelensky said: “I think, really, no one knows.”

“But I think we will be more successful,” he said, highlighting the progress Ukraine has made in the east.

Zelensky said he remained focused on obtaining more long-range missiles from the United States, arguing that Ukraine did not want them to be aimed at Russia but rather to keep battlefield capabilities between the two sides level.

Biden is expected to make a final decision soon on sending the Army’s long-range Tactical Missile Systems, also known as ATACMS, CNN reported earlier this month.

“It would be a loss for us” if we are not provided with weapons, Zelensky said, adding that it would result in “more casualties on the battlefield and elsewhere.”

He also reiterated the need for more air defense systems, particularly the American-made Patriot air defense system, saying they were needed to help protect civilian areas.

Zelensky downplayed tensions between U.S. and Ukrainian officials over Ukraine’s military strategy in Russian-occupied Crimea, when asked about skepticism of officials in Washington about increasing missile attacks in Ukraine to try to disrupt Russian logistics and resupply efforts.

“We think the same way,” he said.

Still, Zelensky defended the strategy.

“Crimea, temporarily occupied, is a place where they store weapons to kill our civilians,” he said. “They are shooting from Crimea towards our territory. And of course we have to see where their rockets are coming from and basically we have to deal with it.”

This story has been updated with additional details.

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