Kremlin now says Zelenskyy can stay in power in Ukraine

Kremlin now says Zelenskyy can stay in power in Ukraine

Russia is apparently walking back its earlier goals to overthrow Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s government in its faltering invasion.

On Monday, a Kremlin spokesman said the “special operation” in Ukraine ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin is not focused on regime change in Kyiv.

“No, the president has spoken about this already,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, according to TASS, the official Russian news agency.

In February, Mr. Putin called on the Ukrainian military to oust Mr. Zelenskyy.

“Take power into your own hands. It will be easier for us to agree with you than this gang of junkies and neo-Nazis,” he said during a meeting of the Russian Security Council in Moscow.

On Saturday, Mr. Zelenskyy told the Halifax International Security Forum participants that Russia is interested in a temporary truce to regain strength so it could continue operations in Ukraine. Such a respite would only worsen the situation, Mr. Zelenskyy said.

“Any voiced ideas of our land’s concessions or of our sovereignty cannot be called peace. Immoral compromises will lead to new blood,” he told the forum. “A truly real, long-lasting and honest peace can only be the result of complete demolition of Russian aggression.”

Mr. Peskov told reporters in Moscow that Russia “aspires to achieve its goals of the special military operation.”

“It is possible to reach these goals in various ways and in various formats,” he said, according to TASS.