Ukraine's former president, Petro Poroshenko, said Thursday that Russian President Vladimir Putin had "failed" to make significant military advances since invading his country on February 24.
"Today because of the Ukrainian army, because of our soldiers, because of the unity of Ukrainian people, Putin understands that his idea of blitzkrieg has failed," Poroshenko told DW.
"Please get out from Ukrainian soil. Please get out your troops. Please stop killing Ukrainians. And this is [the] absolutely firm basis for negotiation," he added.
Direct talks between the foreign ministers of Ukraine and Russia on Thursday — their first since the start of the war — brought little progress toward a cease-fire. Negotiations, however, remain open.
Addressing reporters after the meeting, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov flatly dismissed concern over civilian casualties as nothing more than "pathetic shrieks" from Russia's enemies, and slammed Western nations for supplying neighboring Ukraine with "deadly weapons."
Lavrov also brushed aside repeated questions about Wednesday's bombing of a children's hospital in the besieged southern Ukrainian port city of Mariupol, claiming it was not a medical facility but rather a base for the Azov Brigade and "other radicals."
NATO 'defensive capabilities' needed: Poroshenko
The former president said solidarity with allies was now vital, calling for "support of Ukraine, not only by finance, not only by political means, but also in their defensive capabilities."
"Putin declared war not only to Ukraine, but the whole West. He declared war against Germany, against us, against Ukraine, against Europe," he said.
Both the US and Germany balked at the idea, saying it would clearly escalate the conflict.
But Poroshenko said the Ukraine crisis was already a "joint war" involving NATO members. "You should understand, NATO is already in the war with Russia, and this war was launched not by the NATO member states, but by Putin," he told DW.
Fear Putin will 'not stop' at Ukraine
The former president also raised concerns that Putin would "not stop" at Ukraine "If Ukraine failed nobody knows where tomorrow [he] would appear," he said.
"If Putin now wants to create a land corridor between Crimea and occupied Donbas, why tomorrow he does not want to make a land corridor from Russia to the Kaliningrad region through Lithuania," he said.
Poroshenko was Ukraine's president between 2014 and 2019, during which time he repeatedly negotiated with Putin, from peace talks in Minsk following the Crimea annexation to swapping political prisoners.
"I definitely know Putin very well, and I have five years experience in negotiation with him. I do not trust Putin because never when he promised me to make a cease-fire, to release hostages, to withdraw his troops, never he kept his word."