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29 November, 2022
 
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Zelensky fends off peace calls after Azovstal fall

After Macron, Putin-friend Berlusconi weighs in as Kiev starts to feel pressure but remains defiant

Newsroom

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has ruled out any ceasefire in exchange of territorial concessions to Russia, after Moscow declared Mariupol liberated following the surrender of the besieged town’s Azovstal plant.

Media reports over the weekend said Kiev ruled out a ceasefire or any territorial concessions to Moscow, after Russian media said 2,439 Ukrainian fighters who had been holed up at the steelworks had surrendered since last Monday, including over 500 on Friday.

British and American officers were said to have been included among those who surrendered, according to Russian media.

In a national address on Saturday, Zelensky said the war would only end through diplomacy and that Russia's occupation of Ukrainian territories would “come to an end.”

But additional reports said the president’s adviser, Mykhailo Podolyak, confirmed to Reuters that “the war will not stop.”

'I believe that united Europe must make a peace proposal, trying to get the Ukrainians to accept Putin's demands' Berlusconi said

“It will just be on pause for some time. They'll start a new offensive, even more, bloody and large-scale,” Podolyak said.

Moscow has accused Kiev of refusing to negotiate to end the war, with European politicians seeking to tackle the uncertainly over military developments.

Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, a politician who got close to Russian President Vladimir Putin over the years, has reportedly called on European leaders to convince Zelensky to accept Moscow’s demands.

"I believe that united Europe must make a peace proposal, trying to get the Ukrainians to accept Putin's demands,” Berlusconi said.

The Italian politician also criticized the West for “openly advertising” the sending of weapons to Ukraine, while the Independent reported that he was disappointed with Putin as well.

“I cannot and do not want to hide the fact that I am deeply disappointed and saddened by the behavior of Vladimir Putin. I met him 20 years ago he'd always seemed a man of democracy and peace,” Berlusconi said.

Zelensky has been fending off calls for peace negotiations at a time when French President Emmanuel Macron pitched a proposal for a new “political European community” that would allow Ukraine and other states to be more closely involved with the EU short of becoming full members.

Macron suggested a new framework would allow Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, Western Balkan countries and “those who have left the EU” to be part of a political Europe more quickly.

But Kiev remained defiant over the military conflict with Russia, saying they would “never accept any loss of territory.”

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Cyprus  |  Ukraine  |  Russia  |  France  |  Italy  |  Berlusconi=  |  Putin  |  Zelensky  |  Azovstal

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