Ukraine's standing as the "defensive perimeter" for the world against Russia and Vladimir Putin means it cannot "concede" anything, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told Newsmax.
"We're not ready to concede any of our territories, because our territories are our territories: It's our independence, our sovereignty; that's the issue," Zelenskyy told Rob Schmitt through and interpreter in an exclusive sitdown interview in the capital city of Kyiv on Tuesday.
Zelenskyy acknowledged, "there are some difficulties with some territories; there are some details, but all those difficulties, they could be discussed, and those discussions would be necessary to stop the war."
The Donetsk and Luhansk regions Putin has attempted to claim as independent are not negotiable for takeover at the hands of force, Zelenskyy added to Schmitt, calling for resolution of "those difficulties and challenges through diplomatic channels."
"If it's all about ultimatums and, 'You have to concede a third of your territory, we'll leave you calm and we'll leave you alive': This is not something we can agree on," Zelenskyy said.
Ultimately, Russia is going to run out of will to keep fighting in the contested southern and eastern regions of Ukraine as the world aligns behind our sovereignty, Zelenskyy said.
"Russia will not be able to control everything in Ukraine anytime soon," he continued. "And then there is only one solution: occupation by force. The negotiations could be there, but there has to be a sense, there has to be a willingness on the part of Russia to have those negotiations. So we're not ready to accept any ultimatums."
Zelenskyy noted urgent calls for longer-range weapons is merely to defend Ukraine's territory and not to attack Russia on their land – as Russia has done to Ukraine.
"We're not interested in what's happening in Russia," he said. "We're only interested in our own territory in Ukraine."
Also, the narrative of keeping neighboring countries out of NATO is a losing battle for Russia and Putin, Zelenskyy said.
"Putin cannot fight with everyone at the same time," he continued. "They're not strong enough in the capacities of their armed forces and they won't be able to hold on operations along all the front lines."
Zelenskyy denounced the Russian and Putin's "weakness" of seeking to kill him, and he also said "weakness" makes a "bad" leader like Putin avoid having strong-willed people around him.
"Bad leaders will have those weaker than him close to him," Zelenskyy said. "And who's the strong leader? The one who's confident and that's why he has wise and strong people around him, and he's not afraid those strong people can eat him alive."
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