A top Ukrainian official has said Russian President Vladimir Putin wants to split his country in two.
Ukraine’s head of military intelligence, Kyrylo Budanov, said Putin was aiming to seize the eastern part of Ukraine.
“In fact, it is an attempt to create North and South Korea in Ukraine,” he said, referring to the division of Korea after World War Two.
It comes as Ukraine leader Zelenskiy has urged the West to give Ukraine tanks, planes and missiles to help fend off Russian forces.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said his government would consider declaring neutrality and offering security guarantees to Russia, including keeping Ukraine nuclear-free.
He told independent Russian journalists on Sunday that the issue of neutrality – and agreeing to stay out of Nato – should be put to Ukrainian voters in a referendum after Russian troops withdraw.
He said that a vote could take place within a few months once Russian troops leave. Russia quickly banned Mr Zelensky’s interview from being published.
Roskomnadzor, which regulates communications for Moscow, issued the ban on Sunday, saying there could be action taken against the Russia-based media outlets that took part, which included “those that are foreign media outlets acting as foreign agents”.
Mr Zelensky also said Ukraine’s priorities at the Ukrainian-Russian talks in Turkey this week will be “sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
Mr Zelensky responded by saying Moscow was afraid of a relatively short conversation with journalists. “It would be funny if it weren’t so tragic,” he said, according to the Ukrainian news agency RBK Ukraina.
Mr Zelensky also said Ukraine’s priorities at the Ukrainian-Russian talks in Turkey this week will be “sovereignty and territorial integrity”.
“We are looking for peace, really, without delay,” he said. “There is an opportunity and a need for a face-to-face meeting in Turkey. This is not bad. Let’s see the outcome.”
This week, he said, “I will continue to appeal to the parliaments of other countries” to remind them of the dire situation in besieged cities like Mariupol.