At least five diplomatic talks have taken place between delegates from the Ukraine and from Russia with no measurable results. Although a ceasefire was set to take place so that Ukraine civilians could get to safety, this agreement has been violated numerous times, according to reports. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has spoken with members of the European Union’s governing body, the Canadian Parliament, and the United States Congress via video. Now, he’s set out a challenge to Russian President Vladimir Putin – “It’s time to meet, time to speak. I want to be heard by everyone, especially in Moscow.”
President Zelenskyy has said previously that he wasn’t opposed to talking with President Putin as the respective leaders of their countries. However, these talks have never come to fruition. President Zelenskyy has won the hearts and respect of the world because he has refused to leave Ukraine, particularly its capital city Kyiv, even though his life is in grave danger. Two weeks ago, reports that a Chechen hit squad in the act of hunting Zelenskyy down had been taken out by Ukraine forces gave credibility to claims that Zelenskyy was “target number one” by the Russian president.
As soon as Russia invaded Ukraine, Zelenskyy announced that his life was in danger. Foreign Affairs experts around the world said at the time that they believed Putin’s objective was to remove Zelenskyy and replace him with a “puppet government” that was “friendly to Russia.”
Even though multiple world leaders offered to assist Zelenskyy in escaping to exile, the Ukrainian president refused. Zelenskyy told United States President Joe Biden that he “need(ed) ammunition, not a ride.” As the conflict has pressed on for over twenty days, President Zelenskyy has continued to communicate with his people via video or social media posts.
In a bold, but not unexpected, move by President Zelenskyy, in his regular nightly address, the Ukrainian leader demanded that President Putin meet with him “directly.”
Zelenskyy pointed out massive Russian troop losses, claiming that Russia has lost 14,000 soldiers. He then said that talks between himself and President Putin should engage in “talks that are fair, substantial and without delay(s)” in order to prevent further loss of life.
Zelenskyy added: “The time has come to restore territorial integrity and justice for Ukraine. Otherwise, Russia’s losses will be such that it will take you several generations to recover.”
While Putin has demurred regarding meeting with Zelenskyy before now, he told the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan Thursday that “part of his requirements to end the war would require a face-to-face with Zelenskyy.”
At the same time, considering that hit squads were looking for Zelenskyy just a few weeks ago, one has to ponder whether this would be a safe choice for the embattled Ukrainian leader. However, President Zelenskyy so far has not shied away from doing whatever necessary to fight for his country and the freedom of his people.
Meanwhile, President Putin appears to have doubled down on his iron grip of the Russian people. Putin still claims that the “special military operation” he has authorized in Ukraine is meant to rid the country of “Nazis” and “facists.” Putin also said earlier this week that Russia must be “cleansed” of “pro-Western scum and traitors.” A journalist who held up a sign in protest during a Russian television broadcast was arrested; she faces a hefty fine as well as the possibility of up to fifteen years in prison as a result of her resolve to speak out.
On Thursday, Putin spoke publicly in a means to ramp up Russian support for his invasion into Ukraine. His speech has been described as “Stalin-esque,” mentioned a “fifth column” of Russians who are conspiring with the West to “collapse” Russia.
Putin also doubled down on his claim that Kyiv and Ukraine as a whole is run by “Neo-nazis and drug addicts.”
Putin’s government is continuing to crack down on any dissent, including in the media. Seven reporters were arrested Friday during government events in Moscow and St. Petersburg.
Rebekah Koffler, who is of Russian birth and worked for the DIA, remarked, “It’s an equivalent of the Red Terror period during Stalin, who galvanized the Russians to look for the enemies of the people and turn then into Secret Police.”