Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Ukraine’s President, has urged Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to show he is “capable of giving up aggression” by calling a Christmas truce – telling the G7 group of world leaders including UK PM Rishi Sunak the festive season is a time when “normal people think about peace”. Mr Zelensky, recently crowned Time magazine’s person of the year, said: “Ahead are holidays celebrated by billions of people.
“Christmas – according to the Gregorian calendar, New Year, Christmas – according to the Julian calendar.
“This is a time when normal people think about peace, not about aggression.
“I suggest that Russia at least try to prove that it is capable of giving up aggression.
“And I see no reason why Russia should not do it now, at Christmas.”
He added: “The answer from Moscow will show what they really want.
“Whether it is a further confrontation with the world.
“Or finally an end to aggression.”
Mr Zelensky was addressing leaders including Mr Sunak, US President Joe Biden, French President, Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, Italian Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni and Japanese Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida.
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Mr Macron, who is hosting the conference, denounced Moscow’s bombardments of civilian targets as war crimes.
He said the Kremlin is pounding civilian infrastructure because its troops suffered setbacks on the battlefields and their “military weaknesses have been exposed to all.”
Russia “has chosen a cynical strategy, aiming to destroy civilian infrastructure in order to put Ukraine on its knees,” he said.
He added: “The objective is clear: Respond to military defeats by spreading terror among civilians, try to break the back as it can’t maintain the front.”