Wednesday, February 8

Zelensky appeals for direct talks with Putin

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From CNN’s Tim Lister in Kyiv and Yong Xiong in Seoul

In a new video message on Friday, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky again called for direct talks with Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

Speaking in Russian, Zelensky said: “I would like to address the President of the Russian Federation once again. There is fighting all over Ukraine now. Let’s sit down at the negotiation table to stop the people’s deaths.”

Zelensky returned to the theme of international sanctions against Russia, which he wants to be much tougher.Europe has enough strength to stop this aggression. What to expect from European countries — the abolition of visas for Russians, disconnection from SWIFT, complete isolation of Russia, the withdrawal of ambassadors, oil embargo, closing the airspace – all this must be on the table today,” he said.

Zelensky also made a direct appeal to the people of Europe. 

“Go out, go out on the squares. Demand the end of this war. It is your right. When bombs fall in Kyiv, this is happening in Europe and not just in Ukraine. When missiles kill our people it is killing of all, all Europeans.”

“Call your governments for Ukraine to receive more, more financial and military assistance. because this help is the help for you, for Europe.”

“This is not just Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This is the beginning of the war in Europe,” he said.

Russia willing to negotiate, says Chinese state media: In a phone call Friday with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Putin said Russia is “willing to conduct high-level negotiations” with Ukraine, according to Chinese state broadcaster CCTV.

Putin said the US and NATO have “long ignored Russia’s reasonable security concerns and repeatedly reneged on their commitments,” and their “continuous advance of military deployment eastward” has “challenged Russia’s strategic bottom line,” CCTV reported.

Xi said that China “decides its position based on the merits of the Ukraine issue itself” and that China supports Russia and Ukraine resolving their issue through negotiation, the report added.

It also said “China is willing to work with all parties in the international community to advocate a common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security concept.”

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