Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky issued a warning to CNN’s Fareed Zakaria Sunday, saying that if negotiations with Russia were to fall apart, we could be at the precipice of World War III.
“I’m ready for negotiations with him [Russian president Vladimir Putin]. I was ready for the last two years. And I think that without negotiations we cannot end this war,” Zelensky said over the weekend. “I think that we have to use any format, any chance in order to have a possibility of negotiating, possibility of talking to Putin. But if these attempts fail, that would mean that this is a third World War.”
It has been nearly one month since Russia invaded Ukraine under the guise of a “special military operation.” Over the last few weeks, representatives for both sides have engaged in peace talks without coming to a resolution. As the war rages on, Zelensky said his country is “losing people on a daily basis, innocent people on the ground,” in addition to the 6.5 million people who have been displaced inside Ukraine, according to the United Nations.
Zelensky posited that if Ukraine “were a NATO member, a war wouldn’t have started.” In 1997, the NATO-Ukraine Commission was established to collaborate on a number of fronts, including security, which is part of the reason why Ukraine has received military equipment from a number of countries in the organization. “I’d like to receive security guarantees for my country, for my people,” he said. “If NATO members are ready to see us in the alliance, then do it immediately. Because people are dying on a daily basis.”
U.S. president Joe Biden has been trying to thread the proverbial needle by offering support to Ukraine without overstepping his boundaries. Putin has warned that certain meddling, such as enforcing a no-fly zone over the capital city of Kyiv, which Zelensky has requested of NATO, would be perceived as involvement in the war, escalating the ongoing conflict between the U.S. and Russia into something far worse.