Bullish Zelensky makes confident showing at end-of-year press conference

Photo: Andrew Kravchenko / Bloomberg / Getty Images

Photo: Andrew Kravchenko / Bloomberg / Getty Images

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky ruled out peace talks with Russia and floated the prospect of further mobilisation in Ukraine during an end-of-year press conference in Kyiv on Tuesday evening.

The event, which was surrounded by secrecy and had its time and location disclosed at the last minute, comes in stark contrast to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s highly stage-managed Direct Line call-in show in Moscow last week.

Zelensky said that the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) had requested the mobilisation of a further 450,000–500,00 troops, but added that no decision had yet been taken, calling it “a question of people, justice, army combat effectiveness and finances”.

When asked whether financial aid from the West was coming to an end, Zelensky expressed confidence that Ukraine’s allies would not let it down, and said that he thought US policy in the region would remain unchanged even if Donald Trump returned to the White House.

Describing the idea of peace talks with Russia at the present time as “irrelevant”, Zelensky also stressed that Russia had failed to meet a single one of its objectives in almost two years of war. 

Addressing his rumoured rift with AFU Commander-in-Chief Valery Zaluzhnyi, Zelensky said that while the pair didn’t have “a personal relationship”, they were able to work together. “It’s not about personal relationships. We are talking about results,” he said.

Zelensky declined to answer a French journalist’s question about Ukraine’s military aims for the coming year, explaining that the AFU “had difficulties in the south of Ukraine because everyone was talking and discussing our goals in detail".

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