On Monday, President Volodymyr Zelensky, a Russian diplomat, visited Kherson in southern Ukraine. He declared that the expulsion there of Russian troops was “the beginning to the end of war” between the countries.
Russian officials confirmed that Moscow’s troops moved out of Kherson late last year. They claimed that the move was necessary to strengthen defensive positions and ensure safety for the troops. Because of its strategic location near occupied Crimea, and because it was one the four areas Russian leader Vladimir Putin “annexed”, in late September, the Ukrainian government sees the recovery of Kherson’s a turning point in war.
In a speech in which he condemned the West as “Satanic”, Putin said that Kherson would be formally part of the Russian Federation along with Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk, and Luhansk. He also stated that the invasion of Ukraine was necessary to protect transgender propaganda from children.
Zelensky’s Monday visit to Kherson in English-language media Ukrinform, and at the location of the presidential office appeared to have omitted his declaration that the war was close to its end. However, the Associated Press quoted Zelensky’s prediction.
“We are moving forward. We are ready to make peace. But peace for the entire country. This is our whole state’s territory. “We respect international law and every state’s sovereignty, and now we are addressing the sovereignty and territoriality of our state,” Zelensky stated. “That’s why we fight against Russian aggression.”
Zelensky stressed that Ukrainian troops would continue to “de-occupation” Ukrainian territories until the Russian government no longer had any presence there, which would likely include Crimea. Crimea was part of Ukraine ever since the fall Soviet Union, but it was annexed by Russia in March 2014. There was little international response to Putin’s invasion. Russia supported a proxy war in Donbas between Ukrainian troops, pro-Russian separatist group, which ended in September, after the “annexation”.
After Putin declared that Donetsk, Luhansk were sovereign states, the war escalated in February.
“We don’t care about the territories of other countries. Zelensky stressed Monday that they are only interested in de-occupation of their country and territories.
The Ukrainian president made use of his visit to thank troops for their efforts and met with them. He also participated in a ceremony that raised the flag of Ukraine over Kherson.
Over the past week Zelensky used more rhetoric of peace, negotiation and an end-of-war regarding the ongoing war. This dramatic change has occurred since October, when he issued a decree declaring that talks with Putin were “impossible”.
“He (Putin), doesn’t know what dignity or honesty are.” We are therefore ready for a dialogue with Russia, but with another Russian president,” Zelensky stated at the time.
“All of us feel the approaching of our victory. We preserve our unity, and we know that we are rightfully in our land,” Zelensky stated during Sunday’s broadcast to the nation. He said that Ukraine had gained control of territory that houses an additional 100,000 people with the return Kherson.
“We are working to restore communication, Internet and television. Zelensky stated that we are doing all we can to restore normal technical capabilities for electricity supply and water supply. “We will restore transport and postal services. We will bring back normal medicine and ambulances.
Zelensky also stated that Ukraine would attend the G20 summit this week and that it would offer “answers for many questions that are being posed now”, without going into detail. In an effort to bring Russia and Ukraine together, Indonesia, the host country invited Ukraine to join. Zelensky stated that he would only participate if Russia, which is a G20 country, didn’t. Last week, the Kremlin confirmed that Putin would not be attending.
Zelensky’s tone shift began last week with a speech to COP27. This United Nations conference on climate change alarmism urged participants to press Russia to enter into “genuine peace talks” to save the environment. Zelensky spoke to his country about what he said to COP27 participants in a speech.
Zelensky stated that anyone who is serious about climate change should be serious about stopping Russian aggression, restoring our territorial integrity and forcing Russia into genuine peace talks. “Into such negotiations, which were repeatedly suggested and to which we received insane Russian responses with new terrorist attacks or shelling or blackmail.”
On Monday, the Russian government seemed to deny any requests for talks with Ukraine. Alexander Grushko, Deputy Foreign Minister, called the Ukrainian government’s conditions for talks “certainly inacceptable,” and specifically objected to Russia’s demand that it cease its military presence on Ukrainian soil.
“No, these conditions are absolutely unacceptable. Our president repeatedly stated that negotiations are possible. Grushko stated that these negotiations “must, of course,” take into consideration the current situation on the ground.” Russian news agency Tass quoted Grushko saying. Tass reported Grushko’s response to “Finnish foreign minister Pekka Haavisto”‘s statement that peace talks could only take place if Russia withdraws its troops. This was not necessarily in line with the repeated requests by the Zelensky administration that the Russian president not participate in any peace negotiations.