He also took the opportunity to send a pointed message to Israel during his address to the Knesset via weblink today in which he compared Russia’s tactics to Adolf Hitler’s “final solution” – the Nazi plan to exterminate the Jews.
Speaking to CNN’s Fareed Zakaria earlier, Mr Zelensky said of Putin: “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.
“If there’s just one chance for us to stop this war, I think that we need to take this chance. We need to do that. I can tell you about the result of these negotiations – in any case, we are losing people on a daily basis, innocent people on the ground.”
He added: “Russian forces have come to exterminate us, to kill us. And we can demonstrate that the dignity of our people and our army that we are able to deal a powerful blow, we are able to strike back.
“But, unfortunately, our dignity is not going to preserve lives. So, I think 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.”
Mr Zelensky also said Putin would have thought twice about launching military action if Ukraine had been allowed to become a member of the alliance.
He explained: “If we 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 added: “I requested them personally to say directly that we are going to accept you into NATO in a year or two or five, just say it directly and clearly, or just say no. And the response was very clear, you’re not going to be a NATO member, but publicly, the doors will remain open.”
Speaking to the Knesset – Israel’s main legislature – Mr Zelensky, who is himself Jewish, questioned Israel’s reluctance to sell the Iron Dome defence system to Ukraine.
He said: “Everybody knows that your missile defence systems are the best and that you can definitely help our people, save the lives of Ukrainians, of Ukrainian Jews.
“We can ask why we can’t receive weapons from you, why Israel has not imposed powerful sanctions on Russia or is not putting pressure on Russian business. Either way, the choice is yours to make, brothers and sisters, and you must then live with your answer, the people of Israel.”
Numerous wealthy Jewish Russians have ties with Israel, although it is not clear how many of them are currently in the country.
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, 55, who Forbes currently estimates to be worth £5.4billion, was sanctioned by the UK Government earlier this month, has Israeli, as well as Russian and Portuguese, citizenship.
Ukraine-born Mikhail Fridman, 57, reputedly worth £9.25billion and the owner of £65million Athlone House in Highgate, was likewise sanctioned by the UK on Tuesday. He too holds Israeli citizenship – although last week he claimed he did not have enough money to move there.
German Khan, 60, estimated to be worth £6.5billion, is also subject to UK sanctions, also has Israeli citizenship, as well as Ukrainian and Russian passports.
Petr Aven, 67, President of Alfa Bank and co-founder of LetterOne, is another sanctioned individual who has links to Israel, having acted as a guest professor and lecturer at Bar-Elan University in the past. Mr Aven has a fortune of £3.25billion according to Forbes.