Russian leader Vladimir Putin is “insane,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said as he journeys around Europe to shore up support for Kyiv ahead of the country’s long-touted counteroffensive.
“It’s a joke for him,
” Zelensky said during a visit to Italy over the weekend, according to a Ukrainian media readout. “He fails to understand what is happening. He is a crazy person”
“Russia started the war. Russia took lives. The war is on our land,” Zelensky said, in a readout of his interview with Italian media published by his office.
“We have not proposed an artificial plan. We have proposed how to get out of this situation, to end the war, according to the law, respecting the UN Charter, international law, people, values.”
Zelensky here referenced his Ukrainian Peace Formula, which is a 10-point plan that outlines Kyiv’s conditions for peace. He has previously dismissed the possibility of negotiating with Putin.He showed in January he was “not interested” in meeting with the Russian president for peaceful discussions.
There is “no point in attempts by certain countries or influential individuals to mediate between Ukraine and Russia to end the war,” according to Zelensky’s office. However, Kyiv “welcomes the proposals of third parties to help overcome the crises provoked by the war and end the war,” the presidential office said in a statement referring to Zelensky’s appearance in Italian media.
“We are a civilized state and we want peace, but a just peace. And we want fair and just sentences for the murderers,” Zelensky told Italian outlets.
Zelensky met with the senior politicians in Italy during his visit to Rome on Saturday, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and Pope Francis, who is also the leader of the Catholic church were also included in the meeting. Kyiv’s European allies are pledging further support ahead of a concerted push-back against Russian forces.
On Saturday, the Ukrainian leader then travelled to Berlin as Germany unveiled a substantial new military aid package destined for Kyiv. “I thank Germany for the largest military aid package since the beginning of the full-scale Russian invasion,” Zelensky wrote on Twitter.
“Now is the time for us to determine the end of the war already this year. We can make the aggressor’s defeat irreversible already this year,” Zelensky told the media during a news conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
Zelensky then arrived in Paris, adding on social media that, “with each visit, Ukraine’s defense and offensive capabilities are expanding.”
“The ties with Europe are getting stronger, and the pressure on Russia is growing,” he tweeted on Sunday, as the French government committed to sending more AMX-10 RC “light tanks”.
On Monday, Zelensky arrived in the U.K. for a surprise visit and a meeting with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
“The UK is on the forefront when it comes to increasing our abilities on both ground and in the air,” Zelensky stated on Twitter. “This cooperation will continue today.” The British government said in a press release ahead of Sunak’s meeting with Zelensky that the U.K. would provide “hundreds of air defence missiles and further unmanned aerial systems including hundreds of new long-range attack drones.”
Ukraine has been calling for increased military equipment deliveries as it prepares for its spring counteroffensive. However, Kyiv officials have rejected to provide specific details on the nature of these operations.
“We are preparing very seriously,” Zelensky said in Italy. “And there will definitely be very serious steps.
“You will definitely see it, and Russia will definitely feel it,” he added. However, Zelensky said earlier this month that Ukraine would “need a bit more time” before launching this effort.