Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky reiterated his war-torn country’s dire need for additional weapons and closed skies, while Russian forces, while stalled, continue to ravage Ukrainian cities and kill thousands of civilians 45 days into the war.
Speaking from his dimly lit, fortified area flooded with soldiers somewhere in the capital Kiev, Zelensky defended his blunt, pointed diplomatic style when requesting assistance from world leaders while his people suffered.
“When you’re [working] on diplomacy there are no results, ”he told Scott Pelley from“ 60 Minutes ”in an interview aired Sunday night.
“All this is very bureaucratic. That’s why the way I speak to them is absolutely justified. I have no more lives. [to give], I have no more feelings. I am no longer interested in their diplomacy leading to the destruction of my country.
“Many countries have changed their minds about Ukraine and our people. But I think we have paid a high price for that.”
Last week, he reprimanded the UN Security Council and questioned why it even existed if it would not help Ukraine’s defense against the Russian invasion – a violation of the first article of the UN Charter. He also called out NATO, telling the organization in a speech that “All the people who die will die because of you, because of your weakness.”
Despite numerous requests from Zelensky, the United States and its Western allies have refused to establish a no-fly zone over Ukraine, for fear that the escalation could lead to World War III. Most have instead offered weapons or imposed economic sanctions on Russia.
Zelensky compared the reaction of Western countries to those who sat passively watching the atrocities of World War II in the distance without ever being involved.
“Are the countries that did not take part in the war responsible? The countries that allowed German forces to march across Europe? Is the world responsible for the genocide? Yes. Yes, it does,” he said.
“When you [have the ability to] close the sky – yes it’s scary that a world war can start. It is scary. I understand [that]. And I can not put pressure on these people because everyone is afraid of war. But about the world [is responsible] for this I think so, yea. I believe so.
“Stand in front of the mirror every day and ask yourself, were you able to do anything? Or were you unable to do anything? You will find the answer in the mirror to this question – and to another question: Who are you? That’s what I think. “
Zelensky said he did not believe Russian aggression would stop at Ukraine’s borders and that Russian President Vladimir Putin would continue to move closer to Western Europe.
“Some use it politically as an excuse to say ‘We can not defend Ukraine because there could be a nuclear war’. I think no one in this world today can predict what Russia will do. If they invade further “into our territory, they will certainly move closer and closer to Europe. They will only become stronger and less predictable.”
More than anything else, Zelensky stressed Ukraine’s need for more weapons. He also called for stronger economic sanctions, as Russia has “bypassed them”, adding that “the Western world knows it.”
“Weapons, number one. They have to be very serious about it. They certainly understand what I’m talking about right now. They have to supply weapons to Ukraine, as if they were defending themselves and their own people. They have to understand this; if they do not accelerate, it will be very difficult for us to hold on to this pressure, ”he said.
“The second factor is sanctions. For we have found some things in sanctions that are easy for financial experts to circumvent. Russia has bypassed them, and rightly so. The Western world knows that. This should not be allowed. This is not a movie, this is real life. Stop fearing the Russian Federation. We have shown that we are not afraid. “
The 41-year-old former comedian said U.S. President Biden has a list of very specific things he has asked for to help defend his country.
“President Biden can write himself into history as the person who stood shoulder to shoulder with the Ukrainian people who won and chose the right to have their own country. [This] also depends on him, “he said, adding that he is” not disappointed “with Biden’s response.
“I do not know how another president in his place would help us, I do not know. It is difficult. We have a good relationship. I think so at least. Ukraine is dependent on US support. And I, who leader of a country at war – I can only be grateful. “
Zelensky said U.S. weapons have been a major aid to Ukraine’s defense, though he added he still needs more to secure victory.
“But the fact that the United States has helped a lot is true,” he said.
Pelley asked the president about the massacre of hundreds of civilians in the Kyiv suburb of Bucha, just 45 minutes from the capital. A mass grave was found near a church with corpses that were not completely buried after Russian forces withdrew. Several corpses swarmed the streets.
He described what he saw as “Death. Just death.”
Zelensky even visited the city to see the massacre and was photographed in a rarely vulnerable moment with emotions on his face. He said emotions were anger.
“It’s anger. It’s anger because we do not understand [the Russians]. You can not really understand this world. That there are people on this planet who give these orders and people [who carry them out],” he said.
In addition to Bucha, Zelensky said Ukraine has far-reaching evidence of Russian war crimes, including intercepted communications by soldiers telling their parents what they have done, recordings of prisoners of war admitting to killing people, and Russian pilots captured on map over civilian targets. He said everyone involved should be prosecuted, including Putin.
“Look, I think everyone who made a decision, who issued an order, who fulfilled an order, everyone who is relevant to this, I think they are all guilty,” he said.
Zelensky said he was willing to sit down with Putin and negotiate peace terms, expecting Russia to demand that Ukraine give up part of its country, including the Donbas region and Crimea – the latter, he said. , that he “absolutely would not acknowledge.”