“I’m ready for negotiations with him. I was ready for the last two years. And I think that without negotiations we cannot end this war,” he told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria.
“I think that we have to use any format, any chance in order to have a possibility of negotiating, possibility of talking to Putin. But if these attempts fail, that would mean that this is a third World War,” he added.
Zelensky has urged more negotiations in recent days as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine nears its fourth week. In a video message posted Saturday, he called for talks “without delay,” warning that otherwise Russia’s losses would be “huge.”
“We have always insisted on negotiations. We have always offered dialogue, offered solutions for peace,” he said. “And I want everyone to hear me now, especially in Moscow. It’s time to meet. Time to talk. It is time to restore territorial integrity and justice for Ukraine.”
Zelensky has previously said that his priorities in the talks are clear: “The end of the war, security guarantees, sovereignty, restoration of territorial integrity, real guarantees for our country, real protection for our country.”
Zelensky also told Zakaria on Sunday that if Ukraine “were a NATO member, a war wouldn’t have started.”
“I’d like to receive security guarantees for my country, for my people. If NATO members are ready to see us in the alliance, then do it immediately. Because people are dying on a daily basis,” he said, while also adding that he was grateful for the aid NATO has provided since the invasion began.
NATO, a security alliance currently made up of 30 North American and European nations, was created in 1949 in response to the start of the Cold War. Its original purpose was to protect the West from the threat posed by the Soviet Union.
Since the end of the Cold War, many former Soviet satellite states and three former Soviet republics have joined NATO, meaning Russia now shares a land border with the world’s largest military alliance.
This story has been updated with additional reaction and background.
Zelensky: ‘I’m ready for negotiations’ with Putin, but if they fail, it could mean ‘a third World War’