Politics

Zelensky’s Chief of Staff Vows ‘No Compromise’ with Russia

President Volodymyr Zelensky’s chief of staff said this week that there will be no “compromises” with Russia despite fears that Moscow will seek to capture more territory after the failures of the counteroffensive last year.

Andriy Yermak, one of the most powerful figures in the Zelensky government, told POLITICO that Kyiv will not accept any terms in which the lines of conflict are frozen and that Ukraine will not accept any agreement that infringes upon its borders.

“The Russians are not interested in any negotiations. They want the capitulation of Ukraine. But it will never happen — all of us who are in Ukraine, we will not accept any compromise on our independence, on our territorial integrity, on our freedom. And this president will never agree to anything like the Minsk agreements or a frozen conflict. No, I’m sure about that,” Yermak said.

Although Kyiv failed during its highly vaunted “Spring counteroffensive” last year to recapture any meaningful amount of territory from the Russians and growing concerns over the possibility of Moscow launching another offensive as the winter ground thaws, Zelensky’s government has said that it will not enter into any negotiations with the Kremlin unless Russia withdraws from all territories promised under its 1991 borders after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

In his New Year’s address to the nation, Zelensky said that Ukraine would continue fighting until “Crimea, Donbas, Luhansk region, Berdyansk, Melitopol, Mariupol” are brought back under Ukrainian control.

However, there are growing doubts about Ukraine’s ability to continue the fight against its much larger opponent, with even Zelensky’s former top general Valerii Zaluzhny admitting last year that the war had devolved into a “stalemate” with drones making surprise attacks — a key strategy often used by smaller forces — largely impossible. Before being sidelined and sent abroad as the new ambassador to London, Zaluzhny had also advocated for the mobilization of 500,000 more troops to fight Russia.

While Zelensky has rejected that such a force is necessary, this week, he signed a long-delayed and controversial bill to expand conscription by lowering the minimum age from 27 to 25 in a bid to bolster the ranks of the military ahead of the expected push from Russia in the coming months. The move could have serious political consequences, given that thousands of more parents will now have to see their sons go to war.

Acknowledging the toll that the war has taken on the public while trying to strike an optimistic note, Yermak said: “People may say they are tired, but if you ask them whether they want to compromise with Russia, they are emphatic and say no… And the fact that people remain in Ukraine with their families is confirmation that in general the mood of the people is still strong.”

“Of course, it is only natural that people are tired — two years is a long time… But people still believe in our victory.”

It also comes amid concerns whether the United States, under a potential Trump presidency, will continue funding the war. While the Biden administration is seeking to send $64 billion in American taxpayer money and weapons to Ukraine, on top of the $113 billion already committed, there have been suggestions, including from Trump ally Viktor Orbán, that the presumptive Republican nominee and former president would cut off aid to force Ukraine to the negotiating table.

For his part, Trump has maintained that the war would never have started under his leadership and that if sent back to the White House, he would end the war “within 24 hours“.

Apparently attempting to hedge for the possible withdrawal of American funding, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has reportedly called for a five-year $100 billion fund from member states to keep the money pouring into the war for the foreseeable future. However, it is unclear if cash-strapped European nations would be willing to fund the war if American dollars dry up.

In a diplomatically worded plea to Trump, Zelensky’s chief of staff said: “I don’t believe anybody who represents the party of Ronald Reagan will abandon Ukraine. Reagan understood the Soviet Union and Russia, and anyone who does will continue to support our fighters because they understand that dictators never stop voluntarily and have to be stopped.”

Follow Kurt Zindulka on X: or e-mail to: kzindulka@breitbart.com



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