UKRAINE desperately needs more air defence systems to shoot down Russian missiles and drones, Volodymyr Zelensky has warned.
The Sun/Dan CharityZelensky said Ukraine is ‘staying strong’ but troops ‘need more successful results on the battlefield’[/caption]
The Sun/Dan CharityDefence Editor Jerome Starkey met with Zelensky in Kyiv[/caption]
He insisted Ukraine would fight on but warned victory would only be possible if allies like the UK, Europe and America remained united behind him.
China also has a key role to play pressuring Russia to halt its onslaught and withdraw its troops from Ukraine, Zelensky added.
The president said his country is “staying strong” but his troops “need more successful results on the“.
He said the first few months of the Ukraine war were the most difficult when his country came under attack “every minute” from Putin’s ruthless forces.
The 45-year-old hailed Ukraine’s success in Crimea and the Black Sea -but added “this is not a movie” and the success of the land offensive “depends on many things”.
And he said Ukraine desperately needed more air defence systems to shoot down Russian missiles and drones.
But instead of simply asking the West to donate the weapons he said Kyiv would try to buy them, rent them or co-produce them with western companies in Ukraine.
He said: “We just need air defence on the front line.”
Troops in Ukraine’s major counter-offensive advanced only 10 miles in five months.
Zelensky acknowledged the lack of progress had discouraged some allies who doubt whether Ukraine can expel Russian forces.
But he denied his top General’s claims that the war had reached a stalemate.
He said: “In the morale, there is no stalemate.
“We are at our home. Russians are on our land. Therefore there is no stalemate in this.
“As regards the sky, there is no stalemate. Russians have more power in that.
“And really, how to move forward when you cant control the sky?”
The US Congress has also blocked plans for $60billion in aid amid Republican claims the war in Ukraine come become a “forever war”.
A series of missile and drone strikes on Russian warships forced Putin to withdraw his Black Sea fleet eastwards and allowed Ukraine to open a grain export corridor that hugs the sea’s western shore.
Zelensky said: “We really destroyed part of the Russian fleet.
“We did it. We moved them.
“They don’t have such total influence on the Black Sea region.”
He admitted people were weary of war but said there was no appetite to sue for peace.
He said his people were tired of “permanent air raids,” tired of being shelled, tired of having their homes destroyed and their lived ones killed.
He revealed that he’s “ready” to sit down with Donald Trump if he’s elected as US president and hear his “peace formula”.
In a sombre reminder of what is at stake he warned that the war in Ukraine could spiral into World War Three if Russia wasn’t checked.
He accused the Kremlin of helping Hamas launch their devastating attack on Israel last month.
He said Russia was trying to “light fires” of unrest around the world, including in the Gaza strip and the Balkans.
And in a touching reminder of his past life as a comedian, husband and father, he revealed how jokes helped him through some of the darkest times, since Putin unleashed a full scale invasion on Feb 24 last year.
When I asked he he still finds time for humour, he replied: “You can’t live without it.”
The dad-of-two said when his children cried, humour was sometimes his way of showing them things were ok.
He said: “When you see your children, sometimes you want to hold them, you want to support them.
“Sometimes they are crying a little bit.
“When they cry you can’t cry. You have to be strong and you have to teach them also to be strong.
“When you want to support your children or your wife or sometimes your parents you have to show that everything is ok, sometimes find some jokes about it. Jokes help.”
Zelensky also revealed he had survived at least “five or six” Russian attempts on his life but quipped they were like Covid and got easier after the first time.
And he refused to rule out trying to assassinate President Putin as he acknowledged his country’s fight back this year had not gone as fast he planned.
To watch The Sun’s full interview with Zelensky, click here.
THANKS TO OUR TEAMS
Zelensky with News Corp & Fox Corp team
By Jerome Starkey
PRESIDENT Zelensky thanked reporters for their bravery after inviting Lachlan Murdoch, the Chief Executive Officer of Fox Corp and the Chairman of News Corp, to visit Ukraine.
Mr Murdoch took with him a journalist from each company — Benjamin Hall of Fox News and Jerome Starkey, Defence Editor of The Sun.
In a press release Mr Zelensky “thanked the representatives of the media group for comprehensive coverage of Ukraine’s fight against Russian aggression and for telling about Russian atrocities despite the risks to themselves”.
Brit Benjamin Hall was severely wounded, losing part of a leg on one side and a foot on the other, and also has limited function of a hand and one eye.
President Zelensky awarded him the Order of Merit, III class, for his “outstanding personal contribution to strengthening interstate co-operation, support for Ukraine’s independence and territorial integrity”.
It was his first visit to Ukraine since he was catastrophically injured.
The President thanked Mr Murdoch for his visit and “emphasised that it is a very important signal of support at the time when the world’s attention is blurred by other events”.
Jerome, The Sun’s award-winning Defence Editor, has reported from the Ukraine front line since the war started.
Mr Zelensky said: “All this time, journalists, cameramen, editors, photographers, drivers have been on the front line.
“It is thanks to journalists from many countries that we now have such support in the world.”