Zelenskyy warns Russia to seek ceasefire to “regain strength” and urges US and allies to push through 10-step peace plan

Russia is seeking a “short-term ceasefire,” according to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who on Saturday warned Western leaders against believing it could mean “the end of the war.”

“The end of the war does not guarantee peace. Russia is now looking for a brief ceasefire — a respite to regain strength,” Zelenskyy said in an address at the 2022 Halifax International Security Forum. “Someone may call this the end of the war — a respite will only make the situation worse.”

Zelenskyy’s comments show he is not ready to stop fighting until his forces have completely cleared invading troops from Ukrainian territory – including Crimea, which has been occupied by Russia since 2014.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy pays a surprise visit to Kherson on November 20th.  December 14, 2022 in Kherson, Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy pays a surprise visit to Kherson on November 20th. December 14, 2022 in Kherson, Ukraine.
(Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)

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It’s unclear when or if Russia formally requested a “brief truce” after multiple battlefield defeats over the winter months.

Senior US defense officials like Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin suggested this week that wars in general historically slow down in winter, which could offer Kyiv an opportunity to start peace talks with Moscow.

But Zelenskyy has dismissed previous calls for peace talks and is adamant such talks cannot happen until Russia’s invading forces leave Ukraine.

“Any idea that has been expressed about our country’s concessions or our sovereignty cannot be called peace,” he said on Saturday. “Immoral compromises lead to new blood.”

“A truly genuine, lasting and honest peace can only come as a result of the complete destruction of Russian aggression,” he added.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy pays a surprise visit to Kherson on November 20th.  December 14, 2022 in Kherson, Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy pays a surprise visit to Kherson on November 20th. December 14, 2022 in Kherson, Ukraine.
(Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)

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Zelenskyy outlined a 10-step “peace formula” that he urged Western leaders on Saturday to help implement to end the war permanently.

The strategy not only calls on Russia to withdraw all troops from Ukraine and convene a war crimes tribunal, but also lists nuclear, food and energy security as key issues.

Zelenskyi’s list also includes environmental initiatives to restore devastated lands and forestry, a prisoner exchange, a return of deportees and a post-war security plan to prevent another attack from Russia.

“These are challenges that should be overcome for the security of Ukraine, Europe and the world. This is the peace formula for the world,” he said.

FILE - Russian President Vladimir Putin, second right, gestures as he visits a Western Military District military training center for mobilized reservists in the Ryazan region, Russia, with Deputy Airborne Forces Commander Anatoly Kontsevoy, right, October 14.  20th, 2022.

FILE – Russian President Vladimir Putin, second right, gestures as he visits a Western Military District military training center for mobilized reservists in the Ryazan region, Russia, with Deputy Airborne Forces Commander Anatoly Kontsevoy, right, October 14. 20th, 2022.
(Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP, File)

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Zelenskyy first unveiled his 10-step plan at the G-20 conference earlier this month, but on Saturday urged defense officials to help Ukraine implement the plan.

“It’s the only way to real peace,” he said.

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