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The Kremlin on Thursday said it “expects” leadership will bow to its territorial demands in order to end the brutal campaign it has carried out for more than three months.
“Moscow expects Kyiv to accept Moscow’s demands and become aware of the de facto situation – the real situation that exists,” Dmitry Peskov, spokesman to Russian President Vladimir Putin, said according to a translation by Pravda.
When asked in an interview with a Russian media outlet if the demands extended to “territorial concessions” Peskov responded by saying, “These are not territorial concessions.”
“Kyiv needs to recognize the de facto situation and simply assess soberly,” he added.
Russian Major General Rustam Minnekaev first announced last month that the Kremlin will seek “full control” over the eastern Donbas region and all southern port regions after Moscow failed to take Kyiv during the first month of its invasion.
But Ukrainian officials have warned they believe Russian forces will come back in an attempt to take the capital city if they are able to gain control in other parts of the country.
Peskov’s comments come after weeks of stalled negotiations and suggestions by some western officials that Kyiv should relinquish some of its territorial integrity.
Speaking from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland this week, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger suggested Ukraine should give up Crimea as it has been occupied by Russian forces since 2014.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has unequivocally rejected these calls and has vowed to keep fighting despite what is expected to be an increasingly brutal campaign.
“Remember how it all began on February 24, when many in the world did not even believe that Ukraine would be able to withstand a full-scale war? Many of them simply did not want to take Ukraine into account,” he said in a speech late Wednesday.
In a scathing address, Zelenskyy condemned Kissinger’s comments and suggested he had not learned from mistakes made in the lead up to World War II.
“It seems that Mr. Kissinger’s calendar is not 2022, but 1938, and he thought he was talking to an audience not in Davos, but in Munich of that time,” he said.
Zelenkyy’s retort was made in reference to the 1938 Munich Agreement signed by Britain, France, Italy and Germany, which gave Nazi leader Adolf Hitler land in then-Czechoslovakia in a failed attempt to persuade him to abandon his aggression in Europe.
“Those who advise Ukraine to give away something to Russia – great geopoliticians – are always unwilling to see ordinary people. Ordinary Ukrainians,” he continued. “Millions of those who actually live in the territory they propose to exchange for the illusion of peace. You must always see people.
“Remember that values are not just a word,” Zelenskyy said.