It was the safest place for Russia’s top target to meet with the media.
The president of Ukraine emerged feet-first and walked down an escalator to reach the platform of an underground railway station deep below the streets of Kyiv. He was flanked by soldiers.
He was surrounded by hundreds of journalists who were standing and sitting in front of him, all trying to get a good view.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy sat on a stool and was interrupted occasionally by passing trains. He answered questions about Russia’s war and prospects of peace talks with Vladimir Putin.
Ukraine news: ‘Poor morale, limited time to organise’ hindering Russian attack
The White House security team was surprised to learn that the US secretary and US defense secretary would be visiting the Ukrainian capital Sunday. This is the highest-ranking trip made by Joe Biden’s administration since the invasion.
According to Mr Zelenskyy, the US president will also visit Kyiv once security conditions permit. However, he cautioned foreign leaders to only visit Kyiv if there is anything they can offer to aid in the war effort.
He pointed out that “We aren’t a country for taking sad selfies.”
Two months ago, Russian missiles began to strike Ukrainian cities and Russian tanks were rolling across the border of the country. Mr Zelenskyy didn’t try to hide his disgust at the cruelty inflicted upon his people.
He spoke out about an attack on Odesa port, claiming that a baby three months old was one of eight victims in the cruise missile strike.
The president said, heavy with emotion, “The war began when this baby was one months old.”
“Can you picture what is happening?” They’re just stupid… It is just bastards.
He said that he still understood the need to be able to talk face-to-face with Putin if there’s a chance of finding a diplomatic way to end the bloodshed.
In response to Sky News’ question, he stated, “Regarding meeting with Russian President, I didn’t say ‘I don’t want’ – I must see the president”
He also warned that negotiations would not be possible if Russia killed Ukrainian fighters at a stronghold of resistance within the besieged city Mariupol.
Continue reading: Ukraine war: Twelve Russian military units are redeployed from Mariupol
This would also be true if Russia attempted to hold fake referendums on territories it captured to create the impression that people want to join Russia, not Ukraine. Moscow used this tactic in 2014 to annexe Crimea.
Mr Zelenskyy stated that if our people are killed at Mariupol, and if they announce a pseudo referendum in the new pseudo republics to elect a referendum, Ukraine will not participate in any negotiating process.”
He thanked his western allies for arming his army, naming the United States and UK. However, he expressed concern about what would happen if western weapons stopped flowing.
“They [the western allies] have no other choice. We won’t give them that chance. We don’t have any other option but to defend our country and take it back. What other option would you have? He told Sky News that if there was no state or people, it would be “just a scorched country.”
The leader of Ukraine had harsh words for the head United Nations about the timing of his planned trip to the region in the coming week to foster peace talks.
Antonio Guterres will be meeting Mr Putin in Moscow Tuesday, before heading to Kyiv to meet with Mr Zelenskyy.
According to the Ukrainian president, he should have planned his trip in the opposite direction.
He stated, “It is only logical to first see…the consequences of hostilities and with those experiences go to the Russian Federation.”
Concerning his safety, Mr Zelenskyy stated that he wasn’t particularly concerned about his own safety but that those around him were.
“I don’t feel very afraid – my guards are very afraid, I will tell you honestly, and my family is terrified to be completely truthful.”
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Contrary to western intelligence agencies’ advice, he chose to remain in Kyiv, where he delivers nightly addresses to his country, rather than retreat to the west.
After the marathon media session ended, the president said goodbye and got up to leave. As he walked up the escalator, his security guards moved in and provided a protective ring.