Zelensky Wants To Talk Directly With Putin To End War: 'Compromises Can Be Made'

Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky has said that only direct talks with Vladimir Putin can end the war in Ukraine.

Zelensky told German newspaper Bild, "compromises can be made" suggesting that two weeks on from Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which has not gone according to plan for Moscow, there could still be a diplomatic off-ramp for the Russian president.

"This is the only way we can get out of this situation," Zelensky said, according to a translation, "we can't talk about the details yet.

"We haven't had direct contact between the presidents yet. Only after the direct talks between the two presidents can we end this war."

Zelensky was asked about whether in order to end the war, he was prepared to accept agreeing to the independence of the Donbas region and that Crimea remain in Russia's hands.

Moscow seized Crimea in 2014, which was followed by Moscow-backed rebels fighting Kyiv's forces in the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk people's republics.

"The question here is not what I can give. In every negotiation, my goal is to end the war with Russia and I'm also ready to take certain steps," he said.

"Compromises can be made, but they must not be a betrayal of my country. And the other side must also be willing to make compromises—that's why they're called compromises."

Zelensky spoke of how his family understood that he was unable to leave his country during its time of need. After Putin ordered the invasion, Zelensky refused a U.S. offer to be evacuated, reportedly saying, "I need ammunition, not a ride."

Zelensky has said that he and his family are Moscow's top assassination targets. His refusal to leave the country has galvanized his people and he regularly posts online videos which have proved inspirational in fostering resistance against Russian aggression.

When asked about his family's view of his decision to remain, he said, "They are proud of me. They understand that I could have escaped or been safe by now.

"But they understand me and support my decision because it is a decision for our country, they want Kyiv to stay strong."

"Our goal is to strengthen our country, no matter how difficult it gets. I do this for my children and my grandchildren. I don't want to be a pushover."

Zelensky was less concerned about "where the enemy is hiding" and more worried about water and food supplies to cities under siege.

"What is happening now in Mariupol is a humanitarian catastrophe," he said, referring to the city in the south of Ukraine where on Wednesday Kyiv said a hospital was targeted by Russian forces.

Zelensky believes only "animals cause something like this. What's going on in their heads?"

He lamented how humanitarian aid columns aimed at getting Ukrainian citizens out of danger zones "are being shot at, and the Russian soldiers won't let them through."

He also said that he was not afraid of Russian forces encircling Kyiv.

"The worst that could happen has already happened," he said. "We have a war, Russia against Ukraine. So many people have already fallen. The country has been destroyed."

"But we believe in the future. We will not give up."

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Zelensky and Putin
Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky, left, has said he is prepared to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, to end the war in Ukraine. The Ukrainian leader told the German newspaper "Bild" that “compromises can be made.” Getty