War in Ukraine, day 687 | Zelensky warns pauses in conflict would help Russia

(Tallinn) Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned Thursday in Tallinn, on the second day of his tour of the Baltics, that any “pause” in Ukraine’s defense against Russian invasion would only help Moscow to rearm and would allow it to “crush” Ukraine.

“Give the Russian Federation two or three years, and it will crush us. We would not take this risk (…) There will be no pause in favor of Russia,” he declared during a joint press conference with his Estonian counterpart Alar Karis.

“A break on the battlefield, on the territory of Ukraine, is not a break in the war. This doesn’t mean it’s the end of the war. And this does not lead to a political dialogue with the Russian Federation or anyone else,” he insisted.

The visit of Mr. Zelensky, who is also due to visit Latvia on Thursday, comes after several waves of intense Russian bombings suffered by Ukraine since the end of December.

Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia, former Soviet republics now members of NATO and the European Union, are firm supporters of Kyiv in the face of the Russian invasion.

The Ukrainian president also reiterated that NATO membership would be the best security guarantee for his country and the region.

“These are the best security guarantees for Ukraine, namely that there will be no return of Russian aggression. The best security guarantees for the Baltics, Poland, and the possibility of considering a different future for Belarus. All this is Ukraine’s membership in NATO,” he said.

The Estonian president, for his part, assured him of Estonia’s unfailing support for Ukraine.

“Allies fighting for freedom”

“In this brutal war, on this great battlefield, we are all allies fighting for freedom,” declared Mr. Karis, estimating that “the solution, which consists of pushing back the aggressor, requires a joint effort of all democratic countries.

“All of Russia’s chances in this war rest on the hope that the united front of the allies will break and the Ukrainians will be left alone,” he added. “I assure you that we will do everything to ensure that this does not happen. The war must end with Ukraine’s victory.”

The Estonian president also considered that the West should “have no limits on the supply of weapons to Ukraine”.

“When providing military support, we must understand that in a war it is inevitable to attack the military objectives of the aggressor, slow down and weaken the enemy’s forces and defend the Ukrainian people,” he added.

During his visit to Tallinn, Mr. Zelensky is still scheduled to meet Prime Minister Kaja Kallas and deliver a speech to Parliament.

During the first stage of his Baltic tour, Wednesday in Lithuania, the Ukrainian head of state castigated Western hesitations regarding financial and military aid to Ukraine, which “only increase courage and strength of Russia.”

“We need to pay attention to Putin’s rhetoric. He’s not going to stop. He wants to occupy us completely,” he added, estimating that in the event of a Ukrainian defeat, other neighbors of Russia, including the Baltic countries, risked being attacked.

reference: www.lapresse.ca

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