Ukrainian foreign minister warns against accepting ‘unfavorable cease-fire’ with Russia

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dymtro Kuleba urged the international community against accepting “unfavorable cease-fire proposals or peace deals” with Moscow, warning that Russia has reneged on previous agreements and contradicted itself on its positions.

“No one wanted this war other than Russia, and no country in the world craves peace more than Ukraine,” he wrote in an op-ed for The New York Times published on Friday.

“But a lasting, durable peace — rather than the time bomb of a frozen conflict — is possible only after Russia suffers a major battleground defeat. That’s why Ukraine must win. Only then will Mr. Putin seek peace, not war.”

Kuleba pointed to different statements and positions that Russia made throughout the conflict in which officials indicated they were willing to negotiate with Ukraine at one moment and in another, trying persuading Ukraine to surrender.

“It’s hard to know what to think — other than that Russia is not serious about ending the conflict,” he said.

“Ukraine, the United States and our European allies need to speak to Mr. Putin in his language: the language of force,” the top Ukrainian official added.

He urged international allies to increase sanctions against Russia and speed up the delivery of critical military equipment. He also argued that supporting Ukraine would bolster Europe’s security in the long run.

The op-ed comes months after Russia began its invasion in Ukraine, a conflict that sparked a humanitarian crisis as homes were destroyed and Ukrainians fled over the country’s borders.  

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s wife, Olena Zelenska, addressed Congress earlier this month describing to lawmakers how the crisis had impacted families and urged members to provide more weapons for the former Soviet state.