Chris Lange, FISM News
Eighty-two percent of Ukrainians don’t want Ukraine to cede any of its territories to Russia under any circumstances, according to a new survey released Tuesday by one of the country’s top pollsters.
The plurality holds this view so firmly, in fact, that they said their opinions would not change even if holding onto territory resulted in prolonging the war or further threatening Ukraine’s independence.
The study, which was conducted among 2,000 Ukrainians by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology between May 13-18, showed that only 10% of Ukrainians found it acceptable for Ukraine to relinquish territory to Russia to achieve peace, while 8% were undecided.
Ukraine’s government has remained firm in its stance against making any territorial concessions to Russia and said it is not currently seeking a ceasefire, despite pressure from some European leaders, including German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi.
In an interview with Reuters on Saturday, Ukrainian negotiator Mykhailo Podolyak said that any ceasefire at present would simply delay further fighting.
Zelenskyy demands to talk directly with Putin
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Wednesday said diplomacy talks with Moscow are off the table until Russia goes back to pre-invasion lines.
“That might be a first step towards talks,” he told an audience at the World Economic Forum in Davos, adding that Russia has been playing for time in its discussions with Ukraine. The leader also said that he will only speak with Russian President Vladimir Putin directly, without intermediaries, and vowed that Ukraine will continue fighting until it recovers all of its territory.
Western weapons aren’t reaching front line in time
Elsewhere in Ukraine overnight, Kremlin forces intensified attacks on Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region close to Russia’s border on Wednesday, according to several reports. The city of Sievierodonetsk is increasingly in danger of being totally encircled, according to Ukrainian officials.
The head of Ukraine’s military intelligence, Kyrylo Budanov, said delays in shipments of western-supplied arms to the frontline have left forces “catastrophically short of heavy weapons.”
The governor of Luhansk region, Serhiy Haidai, said the area’s energy supplies have been cut off after the last remaining gas supply station was hit. Locals also now face diminishing water supplies, the Guardian reported.
Haidai accused Russian forces of attempting to “completely destroy” Sievierodonetsk in their effort to conquer the Donbas.
“They are simply erasing Sievierodonetsk from the face of the Earth,” Haidai said on his Telegram channel.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called the situation there “extremely difficult” as the Russian army unleashes its full force of military might in Ukraine’s industrial heartland. Videos posted on social media reportedly show a near-constant barrage of artillery and rocket fire slamming key roads and Ukrainian positions.
EU president seeks Russian oil embargo
Elsewhere, European Union (EU) Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told reporters Tuesday that she’s hoping an agreement to place an embargo on Russian oil can be reached in the coming days.
“I hope we are talking about days. So what we are looking at is one or two member states that are landlocked,” von der Leyen said from the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos Tuesday.
The Commission has proposed phasing out Russian oil imports by the end of this year in a majority of the 27 EU member states with the possibility of extending time for others. Talks have been stuck as countries more heavily reliant on Russian energy continue to block the measure, including Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic.
“We are working on the oil embargo very hard,” von der Leyen said.
If successful, the embargo would be the EU’s harshest sanction to date in response to Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine.