Ukraine conflict risks creating third world war: Zelenskyy in Al Arabiya interview

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Conflict with Russia could spill over into other countries, risking a third world war, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned in an interview with Al Arabiya.

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The official insisted that Ukrainian forces are engaged in defending their land and have no desire to occupy Russian territory or carry out military operations against their neighbor.

Satellite images show that Russian ships are besieging Ukrainian ports, according to the Ukrainian leader.

He also said that he was willing to engage in negotiations with Russia, but that the country’s President Vladimir Putin was holding up talks.

“When the master of the Kremlin becomes ready to meet us, we are ready,” he said.

Russian forces entered Ukraine on February 24 in what the Russian side calls a special military operation.

But for Zelenskyy, “the war began 8 years ago,” after Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.

In the interview, Zelenskyy stressed that Kyiv is not afraid of the Russian military presence in Moldova, claiming that the Moldovan separatists are untrained and afraid to confront the Ukrainian army.

Russia is stifling trade channels, which could lead to a global food and economic crisis that would disproportionally affect Arab people, the president said.

When asked about his stance on Ukraine joining NATO, Zelenskyy said that his country has always been neutral to outside blocs and alliances.

However, he said that Kyiv is ready to consider the Russian demand that Ukraine does not join the alliance, in return for the guarantee that Russia will not attack its territory in the future.

He also insisted that Russia recognizes Ukraine’s sovereignty over the Donbass and Crimea regions.

Ukraine and Russia have held several rounds of negotiation since February, directly and via the internet, without significant results.

Developments on the ground have sometimes impeded these talks, particularly since fighting has escalated in Mariupol and the east of the country.

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