RUSSIA’S bloodbath in Ukraine could spiral into World War Three, President Zelensky has warned.
He accused Vladimir Putin of “lighting fires” around the globe that risk spiralling out of control.
And he accused the Kremlin of stirring up trouble in the Balkans.
He said: “We think that they are preparing now in the Balkans, they are doing new. And we think that they are trying to train or even training some people.
“The idea is to begin one conflict and they don’t manage it, don’t try to stop it.”
He said the war in Israel had diverted the world’s attention away from Iran., which “doesn’t help” his cause. And he highlighted Moscow’s ties with Hamas backers in
That country has boosted Russia’s war effort by supplying deadly kamikaze drones.
Mr Zelensky admitted Ukraine’s fightback this year had not gone as well as he hoped.
His troops have advanced only ten miles since they launched a counter-offensive in June.
The lack of progress has eroded support from some of Ukraine’s allies and fuelled doubts over whether he will achieve his stated ambition of expelling Russian soldiers from all Ukrainian soil.
The president has repeatedly said he wants to retake Crimea — which was seized by in 2014 — and reclaim Ukraine’s 1991 independence borders.
But the US Congress blocked a White House plan to unlock £48billion in aid to Ukraine over fears of funding a “never-ending stalemate”.
And Slovakia’s new government blocked a £34million military aid package, claiming its people had “bigger problems”.
Undeterred, Mr Zelensky vowed to fight on and insisted that Ukraine would expel Russian troops if it continued to get the right help.
Britain has pledged more than £7billion and has vowed to keep helping Ukraine as long as it takes to beat Russia.
And the EU has signed a £44billion aid deal that lasts until 2027.
Mr Zelensky thanked allies for their support but insisted it was “not enough”.
He said Ukraine desperately needed more air defence weapons to protect civilians in cities and let soldiers advance on the front lines.
In an impassioned plea he said Kyiv would find a way to buy, rent or co-produce weapons if allies were no longer willing to give them.
Russia has launched around 4,000 missiles since the start of the war on Ukraine and is urgently ramping up production to try to replenish its stockpiles.
Mr Zelensky said millions of Ukrainian refugees would return if he could protect the country’s largest cities from Russian bombardments.
He said: “They will work and pay taxes. It will fill a gap in our budget. We will not need so much financial help.”
But he warned that without western help, Ukraine could not win.
He said: “If the Western countries will not give us this support, this is their decision.
“Our military and financial (resources) will not be enough to stay and defend Ukraine.”
He reminded Nato allies that Ukrainians were paying with their lives.
He said: “We are losing our people, not losing Europeans, Americans. I don’t wish you, of course, to lose your soldiers.”
He said if Russia defeated Ukraine then Nato countries would be.
He explained: “If they kill us, if they destroy us, they will occupy Nato countries very quickly, and after that you will move your soldiers.
“If you will not move your soldiers to fight for Nato against Russia, Nato will not be.”
Ukraine’s defenders stunned the world when they halted the Russian juggernaut in the first weeks of Putin’s invasion and rolled back Kremlin advances around Kyiv, Kharkiv and Kherson.
But the front lines have not changed much for a year.
And there is a growing realisation that the war in Ukraine will not end quickly.
Mr Zelensky insisted Russia could end it tomorrow if Putin ordered his troops to withdraw.
Fighting would take longer. He said: “I can’t tell you how long it will be.”
Former US President Donald Trump, who is hoping to run for the White House again next year, has claimed he could end the war in a day.
Mr Zelensky said he was ready to meet Mr Trump. He said: “If he has real plan. Please show us.”
But he warned there had been “enough words” in this war.
He said any plan that involved handing Moscow the eastern Donbas region and occupied Crimean peninsula was not a peace plan. It was capitulation.
Mr Zelensky declared: “Our country will not be ready for such a peace plan. That is not a peace plan. That is finishing the war from the side of Russia.”
He also warned such a plan wouldbecause Russia would take the territory, build up strength and attack again, as they did between 2014 and last year’s invasion.
To watch The Sun’s full interview with Zelensky, click here.
THANKS TO OUR TEAMS
Zelensky with News Corp & Fox Corp team
By Jerome Starkey
PRESIDENT Zelensky thanked reporters for their bravery after inviting Lachlan Murdoch, the Chief Executive Officer of Fox Corp and the Chairman of News Corp, to visit Ukraine.
Mr Murdoch took with him a journalist from each company — Benjamin Hall of Fox News and Jerome Starkey, Defence Editor of The Sun.
In a press release Mr Zelensky “thanked the representatives of the media group for comprehensive coverage of Ukraine’s fight against Russian aggression and for telling about Russian atrocities despite the risks to themselves”.
Brit Benjamin Hall was severely wounded, losing part of a leg on one side and a foot on the other and left with limited function of a hand and one eye.
President Zelensky awarded him the Order of Merit, III class, for his “outstanding personal contribution to strengthening interstate co-operation, support for Ukraine’s independence and territorial integrity”.
It was his first visit to Ukraine since he was catastrophically injured.
The President thanked Mr Murdoch for his visit and “emphasised that it is a very important signal of support at the time when the world’s attention is blurred by other events”.
Jerome, The Sun’s award-winning Defence Editor, has reported from the Ukraine front line since the war started.
Mr Zelensky said: “All this time, journalists, cameramen, editors, photographers, drivers have been on the front line.
“It is thanks to journalists from many countries that we now have such support in the world.”