Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy spoke with CNN’s Kristen Welker on Sunday’s edition of “Meet the Press” about a range of topics, including the current hostilities between Israel and Hamas and Ukraine’s own two-year-long war with Russia.
Of the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Zelenskyy said, “I’m sure that Russia was behind and sponsoring Hamas. And Iran, too. That’s who is to blame. When we talk about laws, rules, where there are terrorists, there are no rules.”
Ukraine’s leader also noted that he needed to be “sincere” and said, “We are looking at this situation as if something new. It’s not a new situation at all. It’s a fire that has been burning between Israel and Palestine, and some people are still throwing matches into this fire.”
Zelenskyy added that a third country could be supporting Hamas: North Korea. He said, “I would also add North Korea there. You saw how many North Korean munitions were found in Gaza. It’s a fact, absolute fact.”
Ukraine is in its second year of war against Russia and Zelenskyy said the country has no intention of slowing down. He acknowledged that many didn’t believe the Eastern European nation could hold its own against its larger aggressor.
“Kristen, you know, on the 24th of February when Russia invaded our cities, country, our land, our families, and they attacked all of us, the world gave us three days. Some European countries who really believed in us, they said one month. Others said it will be very quick,” Zelenskyy said.
The president also admitted that no one wants to fight a war that is endless, but that Ukraine is not giving up. As he put it, “Because the war takes the best of us, the best heroes, the best men, women, children. That’s it. But we are not ready to give our freedom to this f—ing terrorist, Putin. That’s it. That’s why we are fighting.”
In May, former U.S. President Donald Trump claimed he could end the war in Ukraine in one day. To this, Zelenskyy told Welker he can come to Ukraine and try. Ukraine’s president said, “For me, what can I say? So he’s very welcome as well. … If he can come here, I will need 24 minutes – yes, 24 minutes; not more. Yes. Not more. Twenty-four minutes to explain to President Trump that he can’t manage this war.”
However, Zelenskyy isn’t sure that Trump would be an ally of Ukraine if he is re-elected in 2024. As he said, “Really, I don’t know. I hope that, that it depends not only on the president institutionally. I think it depends on the opinion of Americans, of your society. … I think it’s important in the United States and EU, the attitude of just ordinary people. It’s their support. It’s their money. It depends on them.”
Indeed, President Biden has requested $106 billion in aid that would in part be sent to both Ukraine and Israel. Zelenskyy has requested more air defense support, including F-16s and “anti-drone systems and specific drones which our defense ministers and commanders, they know very well.”
Watch the entire interview with Zelenskyy in the video above.
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