Ukraine is ready to hold a dialogue with Russia on security guarantees, on the future of the occupied territories of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, Crimea, but is not ready to capitulate. This was stated by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in an interview for ABC News.
“I have spoken many times about NATO and publicly conveyed messages to both Russia and President Putin: we are ready for any guarantees of our country’s security from the respective states that must guarantee. And Russia is also among these states, because Russia is our neighbor,” he said.
According to Volodymyr Zelenskyy, in the future Ukraine must have a collective security agreement with all its neighbors and with the participation of the world’s leading countries – the United States, France, Germany and Turkey, with which our country borders in the Black Sea.
“These will be guarantees not only for Ukraine. These will be guarantees for Russia as well, about which it is constantly talking. Although I don’t know who it is protecting itself from. Because Ukraine has never attacked anyone, it only conducted defensive actions. Because it protects the last thing we have – the family and the land,” the President stressed.
As for the demands put forward by the Russian authorities, in particular regarding the recognition of the independence of the occupied territories of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, the Head of State noted that a compromise is possible on this point.
“It is important to me how people who want to be part of Ukraine will live there. I am interested in the opinion of those who see themselves as citizens of the Russian Federation. However, we must discuss this issue. As well as compromises on Crimea. We cannot recognize that Crimea is the territory of Russia. I think it will be difficult for Russia to recognize that this is the territory of Ukraine. I think we are smart enough to ensure that the decision on these two issues does not cause any revolutions within societies, so that people are satisfied with this decision: both those who live in those territories and those who live in Ukraine,” said Volodymyr Zelenskyy and added that before the occupation these territories were part of Ukraine.
But in order to resolve all these issues, Russian President Vladimir Putin has to start a direct dialogue, the Ukrainian President said.
“The people who elected me are not ready to surrender, we are not ready for ultimatums. But we can discuss with Russia the future of Crimea and Donbas,” the President added.
As for the so-called denazification, which Russia points out among the demands on Ukraine, according to Volodymyr Zelenskyy, it is aimed at the destruction of the nation.
“It has happened many times in history and it has always ended very badly. It ended up for some states that they were later ashamed of starting the cleansing of the world of one nation or another. And some states were ashamed that on this terrible, bloody path, they had not defended another nation,” he said.
The President stressed that the proclamation of “denazification” is pure Nazism, it is the destruction of the Ukrainian nation.
“It was the same in the 1940s, Nazi Germany carried out denazification of the Jewish people. The same thing is happening now. I just didn’t know it could happen in today’s world. That a person who declares denazification can get some support for it. This is a crime against the nation. Because saying “denazification” and then bombing civilians is genocide against the Ukrainian people,” he said, expressing confidence that in the future the world would recognize that it was the extermination of the Ukrainian people.
When asked why he refused to leave Ukraine when he was offered it because of the threat to his life, Volodymyr Zelenskyy answered: “I refused. Because how can I? I am a citizen of this state, a legitimately elected President. If I left, I would end my life. I would be alive, but I would no longer be human. I would just be a body. I would not respect myself. And worst of all, what would I say to my children. Who am I? Did I behave as the President? As the guarantor of the Constitution? This is not just a phrase – the guarantor of the Constitution. I am the guarantor of my people. So we have to stand together. We have to defend ourselves together. That’s why I’m here. I help my country, I support my state as much as I can. I support and I am proud of my military”. Volodymyr Zelenskyy stressed that and expressed hope for a “happy end”.