Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy wants to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin so that they may find a resolution to the ongoing crisis and violence along their shared border, the Associated Press reported.
“I don’t know what the president of the Russian Federation wants, so I am proposing a meeting,” Zelenskyy said during the Munich Security Conference.
Zelenskyy affirmed that he is dedicated to finding a diplomatic solution to dissolve tensions between Ukraine and Russia.
He said, “Ukraine will continue to follow only the diplomatic path for the sake of a peaceful settlement.”
Zelenskyy made these statements just hours after separatist leaders in the eastern regions of Ukraine initiated a full military mobilization. Subsequently, leaders of Western nations emphasized to Russia that there would be “dire warnings” should they proceed with invading Ukraine.
Fearing for the safety of their citizens, Germany and Austria ordered their citizens to evacuate Ukraine and the German airline Lufthansa ceased to provide service to Kyiv and Odessa – both cities are at risk of being targeted in a Russian invasion.
The New York Times reported that despite not launching an invasion, Russian forces continue to launch shells into towns in eastern Ukraine. Residents of this area have subsequently fled.
Separatists in Ukraine’s eastern region asserted that Ukrainian leadership has been planning a large-scale offensive against them and their Russian allies.
The notion of a Ukrainian offensive has largely been dismissed by Western leaders as counterintuitive considering that Russian forces are currently surrounding the country.
At the Munich Security Conference, where Zelenskyy reaffirmed his dedication to diplomacy, Western leaders displayed a united front and repeated their calls for a diplomatic resolution to the crisis.
Vice President Kamala Harris referred to the ongoing crisis as “a defining moment” for European security and the defense of democratic values.
Harris warned that if Russia were to invade Ukraine the United States and its allies would restrict Russia’s access to financial institutions, limit technology exports to the country, and target “those who are complicit and those who aid and direct this unprovoked invasion.”
She said, “Russia continues to claim it is ready for talks while at the same time it narrows the avenues for diplomacy. Their actions simply do not match their words.”
Despite many of the parties invested in the ongoing crisis insisting that diplomacy is the only way forward, the New York Times reported that President Joe Biden said that the United States has intelligence showing that Putin has made a final decision to reject diplomacy and invade Ukraine.