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Ukraine ready to fight Russia ‘for 10 years’ – Zelensky

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky © Sergei SUPINSKY / AFP

Ukrainian president said that his country is not prepared to give up its territories

Ukraine is not prepared to give up its territories and is ready, if needed, to fight with Russia “for ten years,” the country’s President Volodymyr Zelensky has said.

In an interview with CNN, Zelensky said that for Ukraine “the battle for Donbass is very important” for a number of reasons. He explained that this battle might influence “the course of the whole war.” However, the president stressed that the preferable solution of the conflict is the diplomatic one.

“We cannot give up our territory, but we must find some kind of dialogue with Russia,” Zelensky said, underlining that no talks could be conducted “on the basis of the Russian ultimatum.”

He stressed that a dialogue is needed to prevent more deaths but he hasn’t ruled out another option.

“We can fight the Russian Federation for 10 years,” Zelensky said.

He said that the Ukrainian forces in Donbass are some of “the best military” the country has. “It is a large grouping. And Russia wants to encircle them and destroy them,” he said.

He clarified that he was talking about “44 thousand professional military men who survived a great war from the beginning of 2014.”

“This is why it is very important for us to preserve that part of our army,” the president underlined.

Asked by CNN presenter if Ukraine would be victorious in the conflict, Zelensky said, “Yes, of course, and will.”

Russia attacked the neighboring state in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German and French brokered protocols were designed to give the breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state.

The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.

Source: RT