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Putin wants to destroy American unity, Zelenskyy tells CNN

Russian propaganda is trying hard to split American society in order to completely end US support for Ukraine, Ukraine’s President said.
Zelenskyy
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Credit: CNN. Screenshot from video.
Putin wants to destroy American unity, Zelenskyy tells CNN

In his interview with CNN, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy commented on Donald Trump’s stance on the Russo-Ukrainian war, Russian propaganda in the United States and Europe, and suspended US aid to Ukraine.

President Zelenskyy stressed the need to restore US military aid to Ukraine, a bill that the House Speaker has blocked for several months. Volodymyr Zelenskyy explained how important American aid is to Ukraine and how intensively Russian propaganda is trying to split American society in order to completely end US support for Ukraine.

Ukraine’s President said that without more US aid, Ukraine will not be ready for a possible Russian counteroffensive in the spring of 2024 and that it will be very difficult to defend itself and repel Russian attacks considering an acute shortage of ammunition and military equipment. 

“I’m really thankful for the US President and bipartisan support. I meet a lot of congressmen from two parties. And they always say that they will help us. They will support us. They need some more time. They have some radical voices in Congress, but they will work on it,” Volodymyr Zelenskyy said. “I have to trust our strategic partners. If they will change their mind, so it’s a great problem for us. And it will be a big challenge for us,” Zelenskyy added.

President Zelenskyy said that American citizens should trust Ukraine with their taxpayer money, which the US government donates to purchase weapons needed to help Ukraine’s Armed Forces fight against Russian aggression, as all funds are used efficiently. Zelenskyy said that the Ukrainian government is transparent and accountable to US congressmen and the Biden administration regarding US military aid.

Ukraine mostly receives military equipment, not money, and the US aid goes to American or European defense companies, not Ukraine’s budget, President Zelenskyy said. He noted that Ukraine had implemented a number of anti-corruption reforms and received EU candidate status, which is not granted to countries that do not demonstrate results in the fight against corruption. Thus, all procedures related to transferring US weapons to Ukraine are transparent, understandable, and subject to regular audits.

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Zelenskyy said that he had no other choice but to trust his strategic partners when asked whether he trusted US House Speaker Mike Johnson, who had refused to put the bill on US aid to Ukraine to a vote in the House of Representatives for several months.

“I had a meeting with him, with Speaker Johnson. When we spoke, he said that he would do everything to support Ukraine. And he is on our side. He said that his faith is with us, and his prayers are with us. So that’s it. What can I do? I can’t push the speaker. This is his decision [whether to put the bill on US aid to Ukraine to a vote or not – ed.]. But I think he understands all the challenges.” Zelenskyy said.

Zelenskyy revealed that he asked US President Joe Biden to have a meeting with Democrats and Republicans and make a deal for Ukraine’s sake. The President of Ukraine noted that if US aid to Ukraine stops, it will increase Russia’s chances of winning the war. Zelenskyy said that without US support, “millions of people will be killed.” The Ukrainian President admitted that Ukraine would lose more people and territory to Russia without US military assistance. He noted that this year would be crucial for Ukraine’s defense.

The President of Ukraine said that the newly appointed Commander-in-Chief of Ukraine’s Armed Forces, Colonel General Oleksandr Syrskyi, has two different war plans: one designed based on the resources the Ukrainian Armed Forces may have in case the US would provide military assistance to Ukraine, and the other one is designed to fight in conditions where there is no more US military assistance.

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Speaking about Donald Trump’s stance on the Russo-Ukrainian war, Volodymyr Zelenskyy ruled out the possibility that the former US President would side with Russia if he gets reelected and returns to the White House in 2025. At the same time, the President of Ukraine said that a Trump victory would be “very dangerous for Ukraine” if the Ukraine policy changed.

“If Donald Trump doesn’t know whom he will support, Ukraine or Russia, I think that he will have challenges with his society because to support Russia means to be against Americans. Putin kills all the values that we defend today. And I hope that we have common values, our people [Ukrainians -ed.] with your people [Americans – ed.]. And that’s why I can’t understand how Donald Trump can be on the side of Putin. For me, it’s something unbelievable,” Zelenskyy said.

Ukraine’s President also expressed doubts that the war could be stopped through negotiations with Putin. He noted that Trump had promised to stop the war in 24 hours because he did not fully understand why Russia was waging war against Ukraine and what its goals were. Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that he has a much better understanding of the Russo-Ukrainian war and Putin than Donald Trump has.

“I think he [Donald Trump – ed.] can’t understand what’s going on here. He can’t solve it with Putin and with Russia because we’ll never be ready to give away our territories just for the promises to stop the war. I think he doesn’t really understand that Putin will not stop. I think Donald Trump doesn’t know Putin. I know that he met him. But he never fought with Putin.  American Army never fought with the Russian army. Never,” Zelenskyy said.

The Ukrainian president noted that Ukraine wants to join NATO and rejected the possibility of a frozen conflict in Ukraine or a truce with Russia. Zelenskyy said that for him, Ukraine’s victory in the Russian-Ukrainian war means pushing the Russian army out of Ukraine, controlling Ukraine’s borders, and preventing Putin from “returning to destroy and occupy Ukraine.”

“We don’t want any frozen conflicts. We understand that Putin will never stop, and he wants to occupy the entire territory of Ukraine. Putin will never keep his word. In any frozen conflicts, he will come back to destroy and occupy us. That’s true. And we don’t want to check it the second time after the Minsk Agreement, after the Normandy format. All the documents we signed with him [Russia’s president Vladimir Putin -ed] failed. You can’t trust him. That’s why we don’t need any frozen conflict,” Zelenskyy said.

Speaking about the Russian propaganda in the West, Zelenskyy admitted that Russia is effectively using the information as a weapon to break the unity between the US and Ukraine, influence public opinion in the United States, and stop the US military aid to Ukraine. 

“They put a lot of money into this [in propaganda -ed.]. They need to break the unity between us and the United States. It means to break the unity in the United States,” Zelenskyy said.

Zelenskyy acknowledged that US military assistance is essential to Ukraine’s success on the battlefield. At the same time, the President of Ukraine noted the success of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in the Black Sea, which helped Ukraine unblock shipping from Ukrainian ports.

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However, if the United States does not provide Ukraine with military assistance, including missiles for air defense systems that protect Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea, Russia will be able to return to a full naval blockade of Ukraine and block imports of grain and agricultural products from Ukrainian ports, Zelenskyy said.

Speaking about Ukrainian casualties, President Zelenskyy said that he made public the number of Ukrainian soldiers killed in the last two wars (which is about 31,000 soldiers killed in action, according to Zelenskyy) to stop any manipulations regarding Ukrainian losses.

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