Zelenskyy-Without Crimea, Donbas & Other Occupied Territories No Peace
Speaking to The European House-Ambrosetti business forum in Italy via videolink, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy states that there cannot be a 'sustainable peace in Ukraine and consequently in Europe' unless the Crimea, Donbas and all other occupied territories are returned to Kyiv's control. The issue of what territory Kyiv would accept the control of as prerequisite to begin peace talks with Russia has increasingly come to the forefront of Western diplomatic thinking with regards to the war.
- While the summer counteroffensive continues any ceasefire to allow talks is very unlikely. However, there may be a point at which discussions begin as to whether regaining the Crimea in particular is a feasible prospect given the sizeable Russian military presence, the 'Russofication' of the area in recent years, and the presence of the warm-water port of Sevastopol that the Russian navy would be extremely unwilling to concede.
- Zelenskyy also talks up Italy's role in supporting Ukraine, saying that "Our collaboration with Italy is fundamental every day and we have never had any doubts about the strength of Italy's decisions towards us, compared to support for Ukraine." While PM Giorgia Meloni has backed strong military and fiscal support for Ukraine domestically and at the EU, polling shows Italy one of the EU member states least inclined to back Kyiv with more arms and funds, risking a political backlash against the Meloni gov't.