Russia on Tuesday claimed to have taken control of 97% of one of the two provinces that make up Ukraine’s Donbas, bringing the Kremlin closer to its goal of fully capturing the eastern industrial heartland of coal mines and factories.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Moscow’s forces hold nearly all of Luhansk province. And it appears that Russia now occupies roughly half of Donetsk province, according to Ukrainian officials and military analysts.
Speaking earlier to a Financial Times conference, Zelenskyy insisted on Ukraine’s need to defeat Russia on the battlefield but also said he is still open to peace talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
But a former senior U.S. intelligence officer said the time isn’t right.
“You’re not going to get to the negotiating table until neither side feels they have an advantage that they could push,” said Andrea Kendall-Taylor of the Washington-based Center for a New American Security.
The Russians “think they will be able to take the whole of the Donbas and then might use that as the opportunity to call for negotiations,” Kendall-Taylor said at an online seminar organized by Columbia and New York universities.
Read the full story and more from The Associated Press.