20 May 2019 12:18

Zelensky prioritizes ceasefire in Donbas, says ready to make unpopular decisions

KYIV. May 20 (Interfax) - Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has described a ceasefire in Donbas as his primary objective and said he is ready to make unpopular decisions, including ones that might lead to his resignation as the Ukrainian president, for the ceasefire's sake.

"Our primary objective is to enact a ceasefire in Donbas," Zelensky said in his address to those in parliament on Monday.

"I have been often asked what I am prepared to do for the sake of implementing a ceasefire. That's a strange question. What are you, Ukrainians, ready to do to save the lives of your nearest and dearest? What? I can assure you that I am ready to do anything for our heroes to stop dying. I am absolutely not afraid of making difficult decisions. I am ready to lose my popularity, my rating, and, if necessary, I will not hesitate to lose my position for the sake of peace," Zelensky said.

"But we will never abandon our territories," he said.

The dialogue should begin with the release of all Ukrainian captives, Zelensky said. "We didn't start this war, but it is us who must end it. We are ready for dialogue. But I am certain that the first step towards this should be the return of all Ukrainian prisoners," he said.

Return of the lost territories is the next challenge, Zelensky said. "To be frank, I don't think that this wording is accurate: we cannot lose what rightfully belongs to us. Both Crimea and Donbas are Ukrainian land," he said.

People have been lost together with territories and "we need to win their minds back," Zelensky said, speaking in Russian.