(Bloomberg) -- Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba ruled out potential concessions to Russia that could lead to a cease-fire in the war with Russia and said the European Union faces “moral failure” if it doesn’t approve the nation’s candidacy for membership by June.
Kuleba declined to comment on whether French President Emmanuel Macron urged his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, to accept Kremlin demands if it meant achieving peace. But he dismissed any push to make an offer to Vladimir Putin in exchange for ending his invasion of Ukraine.
“Looking for face-saving options for Putin is simply a false approach,” Kuleba told Bloomberg Television in an interview in Brussels on Monday. “Let Putin himself find a face-saving option.”
Ukraine’s ambition remains to restore full territorial integrity, Kuleba said. That would include areas of the eastern Donbas region controlled by Russian-backed forces before the invasion as well as the Crimean Peninsula seized by Russia in 2014. The foreign minister, in Brussels to meet EU counterparts, expressed confidence that Ukraine will eventually win the war against Russia.
“We want everything that belongs to us to be ours,” he said.
The diplomat also pushed wavering EU leaders on Ukraine’s bid to secure candidacy status next month, saying public opinion in the 27-member bloc is moving in his country’s favor. Some EU leaders have expressed concern that a fast-track route to membership could create false expectations for Kyiv.
“It will be a moral failure, which will be judged by history,” Kuleba said of the prospect of Ukraine’s candidacy being rejected. Still, he acknowledged that the road to full membership would be challenging.
“In between candidacy and membership, there is a long process of accession talks, reforms, transitions -- many, many things can happen and they can be blocked at any stage,” Kuleba said. The objective of gaining status swiftly is a political one, sending Ukrainians a message that the country is “one of us.”
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