Zelensky Gives Update on Ending War as Russia Gains Ground

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has ruled out a ceasefire as Russian forces gain ground following nearly two years of war.

Zelensky vowed to continue the fight to defeat the “tyranny” of the February 24, 2022, Russian invasion during a joint press conference with Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas in Tallinn on Thursday.

The Ukrainian president rejected suggestions of a temporary pause to the conflict, claiming that Moscow would use any such period to rearm itself and launch a more powerful attack.

“A pause on the Ukrainian battlefield will not mean a pause in the war,” said Zelensky, according to the Associated Press. “A pause would play into [Russia’s] hands. It might crush us afterward.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during a press conference in Tallinn, Estonia, on January 11, 2024. Zelensky rejected suggestions of a ceasefire with Russia on Thursday.
RAIGO PAJULA/AFP

Newyork Verified reached to the Russian Ministry of Defense via email on Thursday for comment.

Meanwhile, Russia gained some ground in eastern Ukraine following a series of relentless air attacks that began in late December, according a report published on Wednesday by the U.S.-based think tank Institute for the Study of War (ISW).

“Russian forces advanced southwest of Bakhmut and Donetsk City and in the east [left] bank of Kherson Oblast amid continued positional engagements along the entire front,” ISW said.

Advances by Russia were also reported in Ukraine’s southern Kherson region. The region is partially occupied by Russian forces, with Ukrainian counteroffensives having recaptured some of the territory.

Russian air strikes have been particularly devastating in recent weeks. On Monday, The Kyiv Post reported that Ukraine suffered one of its “worst days of the entire war” after 60 percent of Russian air strikes were successful, including 33 out of 51 attacks using missiles.

Ukrainian Air Force spokesperson Colonel Yurii Ihnat blamed Kyiv’s struggling air defenses on a lack of much-needed military aid from Western allies, which has slowed to a trickle with the coming of the new year. Ihnat said that Ukraine was in desperate need of more U.S.-made Patriot anti-aircraft missiles.

About $60 billion in Ukrainian military aid requested by President Joe Biden remains held up in Congress following a partisan dispute concerning funding for U.S.-Mexico border security.

Another $53 billion in aid from the European Union was vetoed last month by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, who has often been described as an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Kallas announced during Zelensky’s visit that Estonia, a NATO member that directly borders Russia, would commit to giving Ukraine aid in the amount of 1.2 billion euros, or about $1.3 billion, over the course of four years. She said the aid was a substantial investment for Estonia, a country of only 1.3 million people.

“Estonia has made a decision regarding long-term support, so 0.25 percent of our GDP over the next four-year period will go to Ukraine as military aid,” Kallas said, according to The Kyiv Post. “And we hope it’s going to be an example for everybody else.”