Zelensky preparing ‘comprehensive plan’ to end war against Russia

Vladimir Zelensky, Ukrainian President, Slovenian President, Natasa Pirc Musar, Ukrainian

In the face of mounting casualties and pressing timelines, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has announced that his administration is preparing a “comprehensive plan” to bring an end to the ongoing conflict with Russia. Speaking at a press conference in Kiev following a meeting with Slovenian President Natasa Pirc Musar, Zelensky expressed urgency and determination to present this plan by the end of the year.

Zelensky referred to the “peace formula,” a ten-point document he unveiled in November 2022. The document outlines Ukraine’s conditions for peace, which include the return of all occupied territories, the withdrawal of Russian troops, reparations, and accountability for war crimes. Despite Moscow’s dismissal of the plan as unrealistic, Zelensky emphasized the necessity of a robust battlefield presence alongside diplomatic efforts.

“We will also work out all other points of the Peace Formula and prepare a comprehensive plan that will be on the table before our partners,” Zelensky stated. “It is very important for us to show a plan to end the war that will be supported by the majority of the world. This is the diplomatic path we are working on.”

The Ukrainian leader underscored the importance of military strength in negotiations, asserting that Russia only respects power. “These are two parallel things – to be strong on the battlefield and to develop a plan, a clear plan, a detailed plan. And it will be ready this year,” Zelensky affirmed. His remarks came shortly after Ukraine signed a long-term security pact with the European Union, which guarantees military and financial aid for years to come.

The US and several allies have also committed to long-term support for Ukraine, framing these agreements as safeguards against potential policy shifts should former US President Donald Trump win the upcoming election. Speaking in Brussels, Zelensky reiterated that Ukraine is not seeking to prolong the war. He stressed the need to put a settlement plan on the table within months, citing the heavy toll on Ukrainian soldiers and civilians.

“We have many wounded and killed on the battlefield. We must put a settlement plan on the table within a few months,” he said, though he offered no further details on the plan.

While Ukrainian authorities have been reticent about revealing their casualty figures, they claim to have inflicted substantial losses on Russian forces. Conversely, the Russian Defense Ministry reported that Ukraine lost 35,000 troops in May alone and nearly 500,000 since the conflict began. These figures, however, are part of the broader information warfare between the two nations.

Despite the lack of ongoing public negotiations between Ukraine and Russia, Zelensky’s administration continues its diplomatic efforts. Earlier this month, Zelensky hosted an international summit in Switzerland, rallying support for Ukraine’s stance. Over 90 countries sent leaders and senior officials, with the majority endorsing a final communique stressing Ukraine’s territorial integrity. However, notable absences and dissenting voices, such as India’s disagreement and China’s boycott, highlighted the complexities of international consensus.

“It is very important for us to show a plan to end the war that will be supported by the majority of the world,” Zelensky reiterated during the press conference with Slovenian President Musar. “This is the diplomatic route we are working on.”

Ukraine has consistently demanded that Russia withdraw from its internationally recognized territories, including Crimea, annexed by Moscow in 2014, as a precondition for peace talks. On the other hand, Russian President Vladimir Putin insists on Ukraine relinquishing more territories in the east and south, maintaining a hardline stance that complicates potential negotiations.

In Brussels, Zelensky confirmed his intention to present a detailed peace plan soon, emphasizing the urgency due to the high casualty rates. “We don’t have too much time,” he said, pointing to the ongoing loss of life among soldiers and civilians.

On the ground, Russian forces continue to make incremental advances, claiming control over small frontline villages and occupying about a fifth of Ukrainian territory. Despite these gains, Ukrainian forces, heavily reliant on Western military and financial aid, remain resolute. The extended conflict has left Ukrainian troops outgunned, outmanned, and exhausted after more than two years of relentless fighting.

As the war drags on, Zelensky’s administration is caught in a race against time, striving to balance military resilience with diplomatic initiatives. The upcoming comprehensive plan aims to outline a clear path to peace, one that aligns with Ukraine’s demands and garners global support. However, the stark realities on the battlefield and the divergent international responses underscore the formidable challenges ahead in achieving a lasting resolution to the conflict.

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