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Monday, February 26, 2024

Takeaways from AP’s Interview with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy

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KHARKIV, Ukraine — The Related Press was invited to tour an embattled city in northeastern Ukraine with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy as a part of an unique interview with him. Some takeaways from the session:

Zelenskyy stated the onset of winter marks a brand new section of the 21-month-old warfare with Russia that can influence not solely front-line battlefields but additionally civilians in cities and cities, in addition to the export of grain.

He anticipates a resumption of an intense Russian air marketing campaign. Such assaults final yr struck key civilian infrastructure, affecting energy, warmth and water provides. Russia additionally focused grain silos and ports, hampering export capabilities.

Though Ukraine has strong air defenses, because of Western allies, and has managed to thwart most drone and missile assaults on main cities, Russia seems to be intent on overwhelming these capabilities. Zelenskyy stated defending civilian areas along with maintaining defenses on the lengthy entrance line makes the winter marketing campaign particularly difficult.

On Ukraine’s summer season counteroffensive, Zelenskyy admitted it didn’t produce the outcomes many had hoped for. He stated this was due primarily to Ukraine not receiving hoped-for weapons from allies that stored floor forces at an obstacle.

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“Look, we’re not backing down, I’m happy. We’re preventing with the second (finest) military on the earth, I’m happy,” he stated referring to the Russian navy However he added: “We’re dropping folks, I’m not happy. We didn’t get all of the weapons we wished, I can’t be happy, however I can also’t complain an excessive amount of.”

He conceded Ukraine just isn’t capable of advance rapidly sufficient and obtain main breakthroughs, however he stated that is not a motive to give up.

Zelenskyy stated the Israel-Hamas warfare threatens to divert consideration from the battle in Ukraine at a vital second, however he didn’t elaborate on whether or not there was a tangible influence on weapons or funds. The disaster within the Center East additionally comes forward of an election yr in the USA, the place help to Ukraine is predicted to face deeper scrutiny.

“The warfare right here is full-scale, advanced, giant, international. The most important warfare since World Struggle II. So we perceive what the challenges could also be if the main target of our allies’ consideration shall be scattered,” he stated. “You see, consideration equals assist.”

Zelenskyy desires to ramp up Ukraine’s home arms manufacturing, enabling the nation to supply its personal weapons as an alternative of relying on outdoors suppliers.

Ukraine is devoting a large portion of its funds for weapons manufacturing, together with drones, however the nascent business just isn’t capable of meet what is required to pressure a decisive shift in opposition to better-resourced Russia.

Zelenskyy hopes Western allies will grant Ukraine the licenses to fabricate and restore their weapons. He additionally desires low cost loans from the West to fund the plans.

On the similar time, he stated Russia should not be allowed to bypass sanctions to construct weapons that use components sourced from world wide.

He stated he informed U.S. President Joe Biden that Putin is afraid of Ukraine turning into militarily impartial. “If our manufacturing turns into highly effective, very highly effective, we are going to rely totally on ourselves,” he stated. “Russia understands that every one its plans for destabilization, growth, and occupation of Ukraine will finish.”

Commenting on an AP ballot that confirmed practically half of Individuals disapprove of continued help to Ukraine, Zelenskyy stated Kyiv was preventing for the long-term advantage of the U.S. and different international locations, an argument he has made earlier than. A Russian victory would compromise Europe’s stability, he stated, and Russia may invade a NATO nation, forcing the deployment of American troops there.

“You assume that if our youngsters die, we wish another person’s youngsters to die too?” he requested.

Zelenskyy invited Chinese language chief Xi Jinping to go to Ukraine, however such a visit has but to materialize. Nonetheless, he stated China’s continued assist of Ukraine is “crucial.”

China will hold a stability because of “historic and financial relationships” with Russia, he stated, including that “traces that can’t be crossed” embody sovereignty, justice and nuclear safety.

Ukraine’s structure mandates that it’s supposed to carry a presidential election in March 2024, however Zelenskyy stated the nation just isn’t capable of have one, citing the risks to voters amid shelling and airstrikes. On-line balloting would require amending the structure, he added, and there’s the issue of voting in areas occupied by Russia.

Elections “should happen” as quickly as Ukraine’s safety is stabilized, he added.

Russia is predicted to carry an election that very same month, with President Vladimir Putin prone to run for an additional six-year time period. Zelenskyy stated that vote wouldn’t be democratic and “everybody is aware of what the end result shall be,“ including that the world ought to label the balloting illegitimate.

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Comply with AP’s protection of the warfare in Ukraine at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine



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