Zelenskyy slams Henry Kissinger for emerging 'from the deep past' to suggest Ukraine cede territory to Russia

Zelenskyy slams Henry Kissinger for emerging 'from the deep past' to suggest Ukraine cede territory to Russia
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky seen on a screen at the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos on May 23, 2022.FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images
  • Henry Kissinger suggested on Monday that Ukraine hand over territory to Russia to secure peace.
  • Before the invasion, Russia controlled Crimea and, informally, Ukraine's pro-Kremlin Donbas region.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy criticized former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger for saying Ukraine should hand over territory to Russia in exchange for peace.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Monday, Kissinger said Ukraine should return to the "status quo ante," a Latin phrase meaning how things were before.

By that, Kissinger implied that Ukraine should let Russia control Crimea, the peninsula it annexed in 2014, as well as informally rule the Donbas region through the pro-Kremlin factions that have occupied the region since 2014.

In an address on Wednesday, Zelenskyy derided Kissinger for his suggestion, saying the nonagenarian was emerging "from the deep past."

"It seems that Mr. Kissinger's calendar is not 2022, but 1938, and he thought he was talking to an audience not in Davos, but in Munich of that time," he said, referring to the appeasement of the Nazi Third Reich in Germany.


"By the way, in the real year 1938, when Mr. Kissinger's family was fleeing Nazi Germany, he was 15 years old, and he understood everything perfectly. And nobody heard from him then that it was necessary to adapt to the Nazis instead of fleeing them or fighting them."

In the same address, Zelenskyy also criticized The New York Times for a May 19 article published by its editorial board, which said the US should avoid engaging with the conflict given that domestic inflation was a more pressing issue.

"Symptomatic editorials began to appear in some Western media stating that Ukraine must allegedly accept so-called difficult compromises by giving up territory in exchange for peace," Zelenskyy said.

"Perhaps The New York Times in 1938 also wrote something similar. But now, let me remind you, it is 2022."

On Wednesday, Zelenskyy reiterated remarks that Ukraine wouldn't agree to peace until Russia agreed to return Crimea and the Donbas region to Ukraine.


Months before the Russian invasion began, Zelenskyy pledged to do all he could to return the peninsula to Ukraine.

Russian forces have in recent days made advances in the Donbas region, with Oleksandr Motuzyanyk, Ukraine's defense ministry spokesperson, saying on Tuesday that Russia's military had entered its "most active phase" of the war to date.