In an ironic reference to the long table Putin used in his recent meetings with foreign leaders and Russian officials, Zelensky said: “Sit down with me to negotiate, just not 30 meters away. I don’t bite. What are you afraid of?”
During a press conference Thursday, Zelensky added that the prospects for another round of talks between Russian and Ukrainian negotiators did not look encouraging, but stressed the need for negotiation, noting that “any words are more important than shots.”
He said the world had been too slow to provide support to Ukraine and urged leaders in the West to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine to prevent Russian warplanes from arriving.
The United States and NATO allies have ruled out taking the step that would put the Russian and Western armies in direct confrontation.
Zelensky argued that if the West remained reluctant to declare a no-fly zone over Ukraine, it should at least provide Kyiv with combat aircraft.
On the other hand, General Andrei Sukhovitsky, the commanding general of the Russian 7th Airborne Division, was killed during fighting in Ukraine earlier this week.
A local organization of officers confirmed his death in the Krasnodar region in southern Russia. The circumstances of his death were not immediately clear.
Sukhovsky, at the age of 47, began his military service as a platoon commander after graduating from the Military Academy and went on to rise to important leadership positions.
A funeral service will be held in Novorossiysk, but no further details were immediately released.