Russia’s bloodbath in Ukraine could escalate into World War III, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned on Sunday.
He accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of “lighting fires” around the globe that are in danger of spiraling out of control – and said the Oct. 7 bloodbath by Hamas terrorists in Israel was a “really big wish.” been Moscow’s.
And he also accused the Kremlin of fomenting unrest in the Balkans.
He said: “We believe that they are now preparing and taking new steps in the Balkans,” Zelensky said. “And we believe they are trying to educate or even train some people.”
“The idea is to start a conflict and if you don’t manage it, don’t try to stop it.”
“They won’t stop”
In his office in Kiev, Zelensky warned: “Ukraine is today at the center of these global risks of this Third World War.”
“And I really believe that Russia will keep pushing until the United States and China together tell them very, very seriously to get out [our] Area.”
He said the war in Israel had distracted the world from Ukraine, which “doesn’t help” his cause.
And he highlighted Moscow’s ties with Hamas supporters in Iran, who have boosted Russia’s war effort by supplying deadly kamikaze drones.
Up to 600,000 people have been killed or injured in Ukraine – most of them Russian soldiers – since Putin launched his full-scale invasion on February 24 last year.
Zelensky admitted that Ukraine’s resistance this year had not gone as well as he had hoped.
His troops have advanced only 10 miles since beginning their counteroffensive in June.
The lack of progress has undermined support from some of Ukraine’s allies and raised doubts about whether Zelensky will ever achieve his stated goal of clearing Russian soldiers from all Ukrainian soil.
He has repeatedly said he wants to recapture Crimea, captured by Russia in 2014, and retake Ukraine’s 1991 independence borders.
Congress blocked a White House plan to release $60 billion in aid to Ukraine over fears of funding a “never-ending standoff.”
And the new Slovak government blocked a $43 million military aid package, saying the population had “bigger problems.”
But Zelensky vowed to continue the fight against Russia and insisted that Ukraine would withdraw Russian troops if it continued to receive the right help.
Britain has pledged more than £7 billion and vowed to help Ukraine until Russia is defeated.
The EU has signed a €50 billion aid agreement that runs until 2027.
Zelensky thanked allies for their support but insisted it was “not enough.”
He said Ukraine urgently needs more air defense weapons to protect civilians in cities and allow soldiers to advance to the front.
In an impassioned plea, he said Kiev would find a way to buy, rent or co-produce weapons if allies were no longer willing to give them.
Zelensky: “If you don’t want to or you can’t. OK. Co-production. Just give us licenses. We will find money. We just need air defense at the front.”
Russia has fired around 4,000 missiles since the all-out war began and is urgently increasing production to replenish its stockpile.
Zelensky said millions of Ukrainian refugees would return if he could protect the country’s largest cities when they were safe from Russian bombing.
He said: “You will work and pay taxes. It will fill a gap in our budget. We won’t need as much financial help.”
But he warned that Ukraine could not win without Western help.
He said: “If Western countries do not give us this support, that is their decision,” he said. “Our military and financial [resources] will not be enough to stay and defend Ukraine.”
He reminded NATO allies that Ukrainians paid with their lives and said: “We are losing our people, not the Europeans and the Americans. Of course, I don’t wish you to lose your soldiers.”
He warned that in the event of Russia’s victory against Ukraine, it would be the turn of NATO countries, saying: “If they kill us, if they destroy us, they will very quickly occupy the NATO countries, and after that you will become yours.” Withdraw soldiers.”
“If you don’t get your soldiers to fight for NATO against Russia, NATO won’t.”
Ukraine’s defenders stunned the world when they stopped the Russian juggernaut in the first weeks of Putin’s invasion, pushing back the Kremlin’s advances around Kiev, Kharkiv and Kherson.
But not much has changed on the front lines in a year, and there is a growing realization that the war in Ukraine will not end any time soon.
Former President Donald Trump, who hopes to run for the White House next year, has claimed he could end the war in a day if re-elected in the 2024 election.
Zelensky said he was ready to meet Trump. He said:.
“If he has a real plan, please show us,” he said.
But he added that there had been “enough words” in this war.
Zelensky added that any plan in which Ukraine hands over the eastern Donbass region and the occupied Crimean peninsula to Moscow is not a peace plan but a surrender.
“Our country will not be ready for such a peace plan,” he said. “This is not a peace plan. This ends the war on Russia’s part.”
He also warned that such a plan would fail because Russia would seize the territory, build up its strength and attack again, just as they did after the 2014 invasion of Crimea and the most recent invasion last year.
Jerome Starkey is defense editor of the UK Sun.