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Putin loses grip on power, Ukraine to reclaim Crimea, Zelenskyy tells CNN

CNN
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Screenshot from the CNN video.
Putin loses grip on power, Ukraine to reclaim Crimea, Zelenskyy tells CNN

The Russo-Ukrainian war will not be over while Crimea remains under Russian occupation, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in an exclusive interview with CNN.

Russian President Vladimir Putin started to lose his grip on power and control over the Russian regions after the recent Wagner mutiny, which may open a window of opportunity for Ukraine to liberate Crimea that Russia annexed in 2014 in violation of international law, Volodymyr Zelenskyy told CNN’s Erin Burnett in Odesa (southern Ukraine), in an interview taped on 2 July.

“We cannot imagine Ukraine without Crimea. And while Crimea is under the Russian occupation, it means only one thing: the war is not over yet,” President Zelenskyy said.

Volodymyr Zelensky ruled out any scenario under which there could be peace without Crimea getting back under Ukrainian control, saying that “it will not be victory then.”

Ukraine’s formula for peace: Russia withdraws from Ukraine, returns POWs and deportees, pays reparations – Zelenskyy

Zelenskyy also revealed that Ukrainian intelligence reports showed that half of Russia supported the Wagner paramilitary group, which briefly seized military facilities in two Russian cities and marched toward Moscow last month. Ukraine’s President said that Putin’s reaction to the uprising was “weak” and that his power structure started to crumble down.

“We see Putin’s reaction. It’s weak,” Zelensky said. “Firstly, we see he doesn’t control everything. Wagner’s moving deep into Russia and taking certain regions shows how easy it is to do. Putin doesn’t control the situation in the regions,” Zelenskyy added.

Zelensky told CNN he was “surprised” to see his meeting with the head of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Bill Burns, who visited Kyiv recently, was reported in the media.

“My communication with the CIA chief should always be behind the scenes,” Zelesnkyy said. “We discuss important things: what Ukraine needs and how Ukraine is prepared to act. We don’t have any secrets from CIA, because we have good relations, and our intelligence services talk with each other,” Zelensky admitted.

Zelenskyy said that Wagner’s mutiny had “greatly affected Russian power on the battlefield” and could benefit Ukraine’s counteroffensive.

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