“On behalf of the Ukrainian people, I give you a chance,” Zelensky in a video address posted online. “If you surrender to our forces, we will treat you the way people are supposed to be treated—as people, decently.”
He said Russian forces “did not expect such resistance,” claiming that Ukrainian forces have destroyed as many as 90 warplanes since Russian President Vladimir Putin launched an invasion on Feb. 24.
“They believed in their propaganda, which has been lying about us for decades,” Zelensky said.
His remarks came shorty after he submitted a bill to parliament that seeks to extend martial law for another 30 days from March 24, according to the president’s website.
In an interview with Reuters on March 7, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said that Russia could “end war immediately” if Ukraine agreed to sign a neutrality agreement that would prohibit it from entering NATO.
Peskov also said Ukraine must recognize Crimea as Russian, recognize the regions of Luhansk and Donetsk as independent, and cease all military action.
Ukrainian officials “were told that all this can be stopped in a moment,” Peskov noted.
“We really are finishing the demilitarization of Ukraine,” Peskov said. “We will finish it. But the main thing is that Ukraine ceases its military action. They should stop their military action and then no one will shoot.
“We have also spoken about how they should recognize that Crimea is Russian territory and that they need to recognize that Donetsk and Luhansk are independent states. And that’s it. It will stop in a moment.”
Peskov added, “They should make amendments to the constitution according to which Ukraine would reject any aims to enter any bloc.”
Zelensky immediately shut down Russia’s demands, telling ABC News on the same day that recognizing the territories as Russian is “more difficult” than Moscow is making it out to be.
Russia’s demands are an “ultimatum,” he said.
“We are not prepared for ultimatums but we have the possible solution, resolution for these three key items,” Zelensky said. “What needs to be done is for President Putin to start talking instead of living in the information bubble without oxygen.”
Meanwhile, Oleksiy Arestovich, an adviser to the Ukrainian president’s chief of staff, said late on Monday that Russia is likely to run out of resources to attack Ukraine by early May.
“I think that no later than in May, early May, we should have a peace agreement, maybe much earlier, we will see, I am talking about the latest possible dates,” Arestovich said in a clip published by several Ukrainian news outlets.
“We are at a fork in the road now: there will either be a peace deal struck very quickly, within a week or two, with troop withdrawal and everything, or there will be an attempt to scrape together some, say, Syrians for a round two and, when we grind them too, an agreement by mid-April or late April,” he added.
From The Epoch Times