Sky News has learned that the Ukrainian president said he was not interested in meeting Vladimir Putin to discuss peace negotiations.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy spoke exclusively to Kay Burley and said that he doesn’t “understand who makes Russian decisions” and that Moscow wants peace but attacks Ukraine with missiles.
He also addressed speculations of a Russian invasion in Ukraine in the coming week and recalled the emotions he felt last year when he realized the invasion was actually beginning.
When asked if a meeting would help to end the war, Mr Zelenskyy replied: “It’s not interesting for me. It is not interesting to meet or to talk… “I don’t really understand Russia and who makes the decisions.”
President Trump stated that people are his top priority and added: “I don’t want to fight for Russian territory.”
“I want them to end the war as soon as possible and to leave our country as soon as possible.
“I can assure you that if they leave our territory, war will cease.” That’s all.”
When Mr Zelenskyy was asked if it was too late to hold talks, he replied: “After an invasion full-scale, for me [Mr Putin] are nobody.”
“Russia is losing a lot people”
As the Russian surge speculation grows, Mr Zelenskyy stated that Ukrainian forces are monitoring the situation in eastern Luhansk and Bakhmut in Donetsk.
According to the president, there have been more powerful offensives and attacks in recent days. It is vital for Ukrainian forces that they have strong defensive capabilities.
He said, “It all depends upon how much they can be held back… They are moving forward in the east and losing many people. It’s an amazing number. They don’t even care. They don’t even count their people. This is a fact.
“We are counting their population. We don’t know the exact number. Their side has many more casualties. We know that there are many more casualties on their side. They are throwing, throwing, throwing, and throwing people.
Bakhmut, the frontline city where Russian Wagner mercenaries have been fighting alongside Ukrainian forces, has seen months of intense fighting.
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‘Thankful to tanks’
The interview was recorded on Mr Zelenskyy’s 45th Birthday. During it, the Ukrainian president learned that Germany had sent 14 Leopard 2 tanks from Germany to Kyiv following weeks of uncertainty.
Sky News reported that he was very grateful to the tanks, but that it is important to ensure that they arrive in the right quantity and time.
Yesterday, Washington also announced that it will send 31 M1 Abrams tanks vehicles (to Kyiv) to fulfill Germany’s promise.
The US previously refused to send its own vehicles into Ukraine.
The Abrams tank is America’s most powerful. A single Abrams tank can cost more than $10m (PS8m) depending on how it is trained and maintained.
When Rishi Sunak pledged 14 Challenger 2s this month, the UK was the first Western country to promise main battle tank deployments.
The announcements about the new battle tanks for Ukraine are a blow to Mr Putin’s forces.