Ukrainian leadership has ruled out the possibility of a ceasefire or granting any concessions of land or policy to Russia.
The decision not to grant either a ceasefire or concessions to end Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine came as Russian forces intensified their attack in the eastern Donbas region of Ukraine, and the Russian government decided to stop exports of gas to Finland, the New York Post reported.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said, “The situation in Donbas is extremely difficult.” He made clear to his constituents that while the Russian army is trying to take the cities of Sloviansk and Sievierodonetsk, Ukrainian forces will dig in and work to hold off the Russian advance.
Russian forces were able to outlast the weekslong resistance by Ukrainian fighters in the southeastern city of Mariupol. Whoever controls Mariupol has strategic access to crucial waterways.
With full control of Mariupol, Russia will also have command of land routes linking the Crimean Peninsula with mainland Russia and other areas of eastern Ukraine that are of interest to the Russian government.
Russian forces are now waging a major offensive in Luhansk in the Donbas region. Russian-backed separatists already controlled large swathes of territory in Luhansk and the neighboring Donetsk. Reportedly, the Russian government wants to seize the last remaining Ukrainian-controlled territories in Donbas and forcibly annex the region.
Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Zelenskyy, ruled out the possibility of Ukrainian officials agreeing to a ceasefire with Russia and said that the Ukrainian government would not accept any deal with Russia that involves the transfer of territory. Podolyak theorized that making any concessions to Russia would result in Russia renewing attacks on Ukraine shortly after the fighting breaks.
In a recent interview, Podolyak said, “The war will not stop (after concessions). It will just be put on pause for some time. They’ll start a new offensive, even more bloody and large-scale.”
Podolyak’s statements contradict calls for a ceasefire made by U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi.
Heightening tensions with Western nations, Russia’s state-owned gas company said it would be halting all gas exports to Finland in response to the Finns refusing to pay for Russian oil with rubles.
Last Wednesday, Finland and Sweden applied for membership in the NATO military alliance which will likely exacerbate Russian frustrations.