Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Saturday called for comprehensive peace talks with Moscow, saying Russia would otherwise need generations to recover from losses suffered during the war.
Zelenskyy said Ukraine had always offered solutions for peace and wanted meaningful and honest negotiations on peace and security, without delay.
“I want everyone to hear me now, especially in Moscow. The time has come for a meeting, it is time to talk,” he said in a video address released in the early hours of Saturday.
“The time has come to restore territorial integrity and justice for Ukraine. Otherwise, Russia’s losses will be such that it will take you several generations to recover.”
The two sides have been involved in talks for weeks with no sign of a breakthrough.
But there were faint signs of movement this week.
On Thursday, the BBC reported on a phone conversation between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in which Putin is said to have spelled out his demands and conditions for peace with Ukraine.
Putin also reportedly said that on some thorny issues, such as the disposition of some lands in eastern Ukraine, he and Zelenskyy would need face-to-face discussions.
And so although there are no leader-to-leader talks on the table at the moment, the two sides have both broached the possibility as a way to resolve the weeks-long military clash.
But meanwhile, Moscow has continued to wage war across the Ukraine countryside.
Zelenskyy said Russian forces were deliberately blocking the supply of humanitarian supplies to cities under attack.
“This is a deliberate tactic … This is a war crime and they will answer for it, 100%,” he said.
Zelenskyy said there was no information about how many people had died after a theater in the city of Mariupol, where hundreds of people had been sheltering, was struck on Wednesday. More than 130 people had been rescued so far, he said. But hundreds more are thought to be trapped beneath the rubble.