Weeks into Ukraine’s military effort to retake Russian-occupied territory, President Volodymyr Zelensky conceded that progress on the battlefield has been “slower than desired”.
“Some folks think this is a Hollywood film and demand results right away. He informed the BBC that it wasn’t.
“Peoples’ lives are on the line.”
Eight villages have reportedly been recaptured by Ukraine’s counteroffensive thus far in the eastern Donetsk region and the southern Zaporizhzhia region.
According to Mr. Zelensky, the military operation was difficult because Russian forces had mined 200,000 square kilometers (77,220 square miles) of Ukrainian territory.
With all due respect, Mr. Zelensky continued, “We will progress on the battlefield in the manner we feel best. Whatever anyone might wish, even attempts to coerce us.
He reaffirmed the necessity of NATO providing Ukraine with security guarantees, but he also stated that joining the defense alliance was the ultimate objective.
This week, the secretary general of Nato made it clear that there was no plan to invite Ukraine to the summit in Lithuania coming up next month.
The Ukrainian president declared, “[Jens] Stoltenberg knows my position,” adding, “We’ve told them numerous times: ‘Don’t knock the ground from under our feet.'”
The Ukrainian president argued once more for Ukraine to get F-16s built in the US, saying he thought fighter pilot training could begin as early as August and that the first jets would come in six or seven months.
Speaking to the BBC, Mr. Zelensky was commemorating the London Ukraine Recovery Conference, which focused on the contribution the business sector can make to the nation’s reconstruction. Later, he and UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak both addressed at the conference.
In 2022, the Ukrainian economy shrunk by 29.2%, and early this year, the World Bank estimated that rebuilding and recovery will cost $411 billion (£339 billion).
The head of Ukraine told the BBC that he required assistance not only for recovery but also for transformation.
Finding locations for people to reside, restoring the devastated Kakhovka dam, and decentralizing the electricity network were among the “quick steps” that needed to be taken right away.
But on a bigger scale, he continued, “we are talking about the transformation of Ukraine.” “This is Ukraine, with its industrial, agricultural, and energy complexes as well as its reforms, which are clear.”
He discussed judicial and anti-corruption reforms as well as “the digitilization of Ukraine.”
He made it clear that “victories on the battlefield are necessary” when I asked him what the war’s endgame looked like at this point. He also stated that Ukraine would never negotiate, regardless of who the president of Moscow was, if Russia remained inside its borders.
“We will not accept a frozen conflict, regardless of how far our counteroffensive has advanced, because that is war and a hopeless development for Ukraine.”
President Joe Biden has issued a warning that Vladimir Putin may actually use the tactical nuclear weapons that Russia recently declared it had transported to Belarus.
So I enquired as to Mr. Zelensky’s concern on the threat.
“Putin has been dangerous for us since 2014, when he occupied the first of our territories,” he declared.
He will discuss the use of nuclear weapons, but I don’t believe he is ready to use them because he fears for his life despite how much he loves them. But there is no way I could say for sure, especially about someone who has no connection to reality and who started a full-scale war against their neighbor in the twenty-first century.
I also questioned him on President Putin’s remarks that he was a disgrace to the Jewish people at an international summit last week in St. Petersburg. Mr. Zelensky was obviously surprised by the question because he lost several family members during the Holocaust, including his grandpa.
He inhaled deeply, lowered his head, and after a few moment said he wasn’t sure how to respond to the question.
It appears as though he is not entirely cognizant of his statements. Sorry, but he seems to be the second-most powerful antisemite after Hitler.
“A president is speaking. Such language has no place in a civilized world. However, it was crucial for me to hear how the rest of the world felt, and I appreciate the encouragement.
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