Kyiv: Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky has said that he will not give away any part of Ukraine to Russia, now that too many lives have been lost trying to protect the east European country.
Zelensky made the comments during an interview with CBS News.
"Overall, I am not ready to give away any part of our country. I think we have already given up a lot of lives, so we need to stay firm for as long as we can. But, this is life, different things happen," he said in the interview.
Zelensky also said that the issue of giving up the country for the sake of peace will be raised in the course of negotiation.
"We understand the Russian side, we understand that one of their provisions that are always talked about is to recognise Crimea as Russian territory. I will not recognise that. And they would like to take the southern parts of our country," said the Ukrainian President, as reported by the BBC.
"I clearly understand that questions like this will be raised in negotiations if there are any. But we were not ready to give up our territory from the beginning. Had we been willing to give up our territory, there would have been no war," he added.
Russia launched the invasion of Ukraine on February 24 and since then has destroyed many Ukrainian cities. While the Russian forces are now regrouping to launch a fresh assault in new areas, the destruction in Borodyanka and Bucha has shaken the world.
Meanwhile, the battle for Mariupol was reaching a decisive phase, with Ukrainian marines holed up in the Azovstal industrial district, news agency Reuters reported. It Azovstal falls, Russia would be in full control of Mariupol, the lynchpin between Russian-held areas to the west and east.
The city has already been laid waste by weeks of Russian bombardments that have killed possibly thousands of civilians.
Due to the war, about a quarter of Ukraine's 44 million population have been forced out from their homes, and cities turned into rubble. Thousands have been killed or injured - many of them civilians.
Russian President Vladimir Putin calls the action a "special military operation" to demilitarise and "denazify" Ukraine but it has drawn condemnation and alarm in the West, which has imposed a wide range of sanctions to squeeze the Russian economy.