Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks during a press conference in Kyiv on March 3, 2022.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks during a press conference in Kyiv on March 3, 2022. (Photo: Sergei Supinsky/AFP via Getty Images)

Zelenskyy Says Face-to-Face Talks With Putin the 'Only Way to Stop This War'

The Ukrainian president's comments came amid reports that Ukraine and Russia have agreed to create humanitarian corridors to enable the safe passage of civilians during temporary, localized ceasefires.

This is a developing news story... Check back for possible updates...

As Moscow intensifies its assault on Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, president of the bombarded nation, said Thursday at a press conference that the "only way to stop this war" is to have direct talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In addition to urging Putin to sit down face-to-face, Zelenskyy also called on Western governments to increase military aid to Ukraine, warning that if Kyiv and its allies fail to stop the Russian military's advance, other Eastern European countries would be in danger.

"If you do not have the power to close the skies, then give me planes!" said the Ukrainian president. "If we are no more, then God forbid, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia will be next. Believe me."

Zelenskyy's comments came amid reports that Ukraine and Russia have agreed to create corridors to enable the safe passage of civilians and humanitarian supplies during temporary, localized ceasefires.

While lamenting that the second round of talks between Kyiv and Moscow ended Thursday without a resolution to the conflict, Zelenskyy adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said that the two sides had reached an understanding on the provision of "humanitarian corridors" to facilitate the evacuation of civilians and delivery of food, water, and medicine.

According to Podolyak, both sides agreed to observe limited ceasefires: "That is, not everywhere, but only in those places where the humanitarian corridors themselves will be located, it will be possible to cease fire for the duration of the evacuation."

Meanwhile, Russia's main negotiator, Vladimir Medinsky, said that "the main question that we decided on today was the issue of saving people, civilians, who are in the zone of military clashes."

"Russia calls on civilians who find themselves in this situation, if military actions continue, to use these humanitarian corridors," added the former culture minister.

According to Leonid Slutsky, a Russian lawmaker and participant in the negotiations, Thursday's agreement will be "implemented in the near future."

Since Putin ordered his full-scale invasion of Ukraine last week, Russia has hit civilian infrastructure in Kyiv, Kharkiv, Chernihiv, and other cities with airstrikes and artillery shells, killing hundreds. As the war enters its second week, more than one million refugees have already been displaced to neighboring countries, according to the United Nations.

A third round of talks between the Ukrainian and Russian delegations is reportedly set to take place early next week.

Join Us: News for people demanding a better world

Common Dreams is powered by optimists who believe in the power of informed and engaged citizens to ignite and enact change to make the world a better place.

We're hundreds of thousands strong, but every single supporter makes the difference.

Your contribution supports this bold media model—free, independent, and dedicated to reporting the facts every day. Stand with us in the fight for economic equality, social justice, human rights, and a more sustainable future. As a people-powered nonprofit news outlet, we cover the issues the corporate media never will. Join with us today!

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.