May 16, 2023
Russian leader Vladimir Putin is “insane,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said as he journeys around Europe to shore up support for Kyiv ahead of the country’s long-touted counteroffensive against the Kremlin, reports Newsweek.
“It’s a joke for him,” Zelensky said during a visit to Italy over the weekend, according to a Ukrainian media readout. “He does not understand what is happening. He is an insane human.”
“Russia started the war. Russia took lives. The war is on our land,” Zelensky said, in a readout of his interview with Italian media published by his office. “We have not proposed an artificial plan. We have proposed how to get out of this situation, to end the war, according to the law, respecting the UN Charter, international law, people, values.”
Zelensky here referenced his Ukrainian Peace Formula, which is a ten-point plan that outlines Kyiv’s conditions for peace. He has previously dismissed the possibility of negotiating with Putin. He said in January that he was “not interested” in meeting with the Russian president for peace talks.
There is “no point in attempts by certain countries or influential individuals to mediate between Ukraine and Russia to end the war,” according to Zelensky’s office. However, Kyiv “welcomes the proposals of third parties to help overcome the crises provoked by the war and end the war,” the presidential office said in a statement referring to Zelensky’s appearance in Italian media.
Zelensky met with Italian political leaders, including Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and the head of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis, during a visit to Rome on Saturday, May 13. Kyiv’s European allies are pledging further support ahead of a concerted push-back against Russian forces.
On Saturday, the Ukrainian leader then travelled to Berlin as Germany unveiled a substantial new military aid package destined for Kyiv. “I thank Germany for the largest military aid package since the beginning of the full-scale Russian invasion,” Zelensky wrote on Twitter.
“Now is the time for us to determine the end of the war already this year. We can make the aggressor’s defeat irreversible already this year,” Zelensky told the media during a news conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
Zelensky then arrived in Paris, adding on social media that, “with each visit, Ukraine’s defense and offensive capabilities are expanding.”
On Monday, Zelensky arrived in the U.K. for a surprise visit and a meeting with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
“The UK is a leader when it comes to expanding our capabilities on the ground and in the air,” Zelensky wrote on Twitter. “This cooperation will continue today.” The British government said in a press release ahead of Sunak’s meeting with Zelensky that the U.K. would provide “hundreds of air defence missiles and further unmanned aerial systems including hundreds of new long-range attack drones.”
Ukraine has been calling for increased military equipment deliveries as it prepares for its spring counteroffensive. However, Kyiv officials have declined to provide specific details on the nature of these operations.
“We are preparing very seriously,” Zelensky said in Italy. “And there will definitely be very serious steps. You will definitely see it, and Russia will definitely feel it.”
However, Zelensky said earlier this month that Ukraine would “need a bit more time” before launching this effort.
Research contact: @Newsweek