THE war in Ukraine could spiral into all-out World War Three if Russia isn’t kept in check, Volodymyr Zelensky has warned.
Speaking to The Sun inside his heavily fortified Kyiv headquarters, the Ukrainian president said Russia was trying to “light fires” of unrest around the world – including in the Gaza strip and the Balkans.
Dan CharityThe war in Ukraine could spiral into all-out World War Three if Russia isn’t kept in check, Zelensky warns[/caption]
AFPAnguish of woman outside Kyiv apartment blocks destroyed by shelling in March last year[/caption]
AFPPalestinians walk amid the rubble of Gaza after Hamas attacks sparked Israeli onslaught[/caption]
Zelensky insisted would fight on – but warned his victory would only be possible if allies like Britain, Europe and America remained united behind him.
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”.
He said China also had a key role to play pressuring Russia to halt its onslaught and withdraw its troops from Ukraine.
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.
Zelensky said “Ukraine is in the centre of a global risk of world war” and warned Russia is “starting fires” around the world.
He accused the Kremlin of helping Hamas launch their devastating attack on Israel last month.
And the outbreak of war in Israel and Palestine isn’t helping Ukraine’s fight against Putin.
But insisted he was “trying to help from our side”.
“The Israel situation doesn’t help us, but we understand it’s a challenge for the world,” Zelensky said.
Zelensky shrugged off Russian attempts to assassinate him as no worse than a bout of Covid.
The lionhearted leader said at least “five or six” plots to kill him had been foiled by Ukraine’s intelligence services.
He said the first plot caused a panic – like the first outbreak of Covid.
But after that they weren’t so bad.
He said: “The first one is very interesting, when it is the first time, and after that it is just like Covid.
“First of all people don’t know what to do with it and it’s looking very scary.
“And then after that, it is just intelligence just sharing with you detail that one more group came toto [attempt] this.”
Wearing a trademark sweatshirt emblazoned with the trident symbol of Ukraine, Zelensky admitted his country’s fight back this year had not gone as well as he hoped.
Troops in a major counter-offensive advanced only 10 miles in five months.
He acknowledged the lack of progress had discouraged some allies who doubt whether Ukraine can expel Russian forces.
And he admitted: “We need more successful results on the.”
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, 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 $60 billion in aid amid Republican claims the war in Ukraine come become a “forever war”.
But Zelensky vowed to fight on and insisted the war was “not a movie”.
And he said the lack of progress on land had was balanced by successes in the Black Sea, which he said was also part of the counter-offensive.
A series of missile and droneon 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 theirdestroyed and their lived ones killed.
“But if you ask them are you willing to give up to Russia, our lands?
“Are you ready to talk to Russians on how to end all this? Are you ready for compromise, personally, with Putin and are you tired of this?
“They will tell you we are not tired. We are ready to stand further.”
He added: “We do not believe that Putin nor Russia, we do not believe that they want to finish the war.
“They want to kill us. And we want justice.
“Therefore, we are not speaking about peace at any price.
“We are talking about a just peace for it is very important when we are speaking about weariness, where does it come from.
“Is it difficult on the battlefield? Yes. But making friends or entering diplomatic table now with Russia? No!”
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.”
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.”
Russia has launched around 4,000 missiles since the start of the full scale war and is urgently ramping up production to try and replenish its stockpiles.
But Zelensky said millions of Ukrainian refugees would return if he could protect the country’s largest cities with better anti-missile systems.
To watch The Sun’s full interview with Zelensky, click here.
ReutersZelensky warned Russia is ‘starting fires’ around the world[/caption]
ReutersThe President also accused the Kremlin of helping Hamas launch their devastating attack on Israel last month[/caption]
Dan CharityThe Ukrainian President spoke to The Sun’s Jerome Starkey inside his heavily fortified Kyiv headquarters[/caption]
The Sun/Dan CharityZelensky said Russia was trying to ‘light fires’ of unrest around the world[/caption]
THANKS TO OUR TEAMS
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.”