Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Tuesday he believes “there will be no war” with Russia, but cautioned that Ukraine will be prepared should Russian military aggression against his country escalate further.
“With regards to being on a military footing, we understand there will be no war,” Zelensky said.
“There will not be an all-out war against Ukraine, and there will not be a broad escalation from Russia. If there is, then we will put Ukraine on a war footing,” he added.
Zelensky’s remarks come after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced his decision to recognize the separatist-controlled Donetsk People's Republic and the Luhansk People's Republic on Monday.
The Ukrainian president described Russia’s actions as a form of “legal aggression” to create a “strong foundation” for possible further military escalation in the Russian-backed eastern breakaway regions.
Speaking during a press conference in Kyiv, Zelensky said Russia’s actions amount to an “attack on the sovereignty and territorial integrity” of Ukraine, but called for further dialogue between the two states.
“We urge Russia, not for the first time, to resolve these issues through dialogue, to sit down at the negotiating table,” the Ukrainian president said. “We are ready to negotiate in any forum, and Russia knows this.”
Despite calls for diplomatic efforts to continue, Zelensky noted that he has received a request from the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry to consider breaking diplomatic relations with Russia.
“I will be considering this, and not only this, but also the effective actions we can take with regards to the escalation by Russia,” he said.