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CNN Live Event/Special
CNN International: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky Speaks amid Russian Invasion. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired March 03, 2022 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): And even when you hear gunshots, you can hear even -- ask our women and men if you are hungry and if you're thirsty, they will bring you food and drink.
That's why I am so confident with our military and with our people defending our state, because our state is very special. And our people are very special. And I don't want them destroyed. I want them all to remain, not only in history; I don't want Ukraine's history to be a legend about 300 Spartans.
I want peace. And I want peace in my country. We are on our land. We are ready for anything. And we're definitely ready for your questions. Let's go.
QUESTION: President Zelensky, thank you very much for talking to us today. Two questions: the first is you slowed the Russian advance. There has been fierce Ukrainian resistance but, nevertheless, Russian forces are advancing.
They're encroaching on five major cities. What is your honest battlefield assessment of how long you can hold on?
And secondly what are your red lines in terms of these negotiations?
What is acceptable for you, is it demilitarization, is it recognition of the DPR, the LNR in the east, Crimea?
What are your red lines?
ZELENSKY: So many questions.
ZELENSKY: And you need only one.
ZELENSKY: So many questions. And I think normally who is here (ph) there is no direct exactly future or real answers to the question. So the first part of the question was --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Should I slow down?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, we stalled.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE).
ZELENSKY (through translator): The Russian army is many times bigger. The Russian army is now twice or three times bigger; in terms of tanks or strength of troops, it's five times bigger. The Russian people dying here, nobody is counting them, people dying in this war.
Do you know they have brought a cremation chamber with them?
So they know they're not going to show bodies to their mothers, their families; they're not going to tell the mothers that their children died here. They came here to kill us and we are defending our freedom and our homes and that's why they're dying.
We don't want to kill them.
Why are we taking them prisoners and then our doctors are treating them, even though, yesterday, our doctors were saving our soldiers dying of their wounds?
But they're doctors. They're, first of all, human beings before they feel revenge. And that's the reality. That's the difference between those who are sending cannon fodder and brought a cremation chamber. They're bringing a cremation chamber.
And these guys are carrying that cremation chamber for themselves and they know that. That is horror.
I don't understand what kind of person can plan such acts. This is genocide and Nazism. And I am ashamed that we are in the 21st century, in 2022, and we are seeing acts where people are told, forget, (INAUDIBLE). It's the end of the world, the end of the world. Forget my predictions of the end of the world, this is the end of the world.
If there are such actions, this world is an at an end for people like that. The issue is that we are the border, the defense between them and civilization. I am not cutting off the ordinary people of Russia. They are people, same people as us, but they are afraid to go to the streets and tell their president, just as the way I am told.
When people are unhappy with me, they come here to Bankova Street, to my office.
ZELENSKY (through translator): And we have had demonstrations. And they tell me, we don't like it. We don't like some tax changes and that's normal because they elected me to have access to me. You are not a czar. You did not get this power from somebody up high. You are not a monarch. This is democracy. You are president. People elected you.
And you are the CEO of your country, not a tyrant, not a fuhrer, not somebody -- you are the manager, CEO of your country. You must do everything you can to make your country successful, like a company, so that people are proud of your company and proud of your country.
So what we're doing is we're defending our country and our people. If I were not president, I would be in territorial defense today. Maybe I'm not a better shot than others. I'm not sure I'm a peaceful person; I'm a man of peace and it is just turned out that I am the guarantor, not just of the constitution but also of my people.
And that's just happened. Had I not been president, I would have been in civil defense. I would be handing out food, I would be shooting, I would be -- I would be doing what they tell me to do.
But if I were told, as an ultimatum, you must lay down your arms and cross to the other side, I would not do that, however bad a shot I am. And because that's the difference. We are here defending our own. We are not taking anybody else's stuff.
And I want Russian mothers, the mothers who send these boys, these 18- , 19-year olds, I am 45, nearly; my daughter is of that age. This is horrible. I can't even imagine that these are -- these guys could be my children or they could be my generation, like me.
And they came here. And I want these mothers to understand and collect them. Even the guys who died, there are many, many who died. And even now I don't want them to stay in the cremation chamber and their mothers not to know even why and where.
That's wrong. That's inhuman because there is one God. And if you were sent here and you were sent -- you were sent to kill people, God should be your judge, not a cremation chamber.
So we will open access to all these mothers, let them come and collect their children.
So I don't know. I don't know. We are not thinking of time. We're not holding on for a certain period. We are holding on for us. We are defending. This is our job now. This is our job. That's it.
It's a job that has turned into our survival and the preservation of our history and our family and that is a shame. This is shameful. It is shameful when you don't have your own life, can't make your own decisions about what you can and what you can't. That is the essence of life, the essence of freedom. QUESTION: Mr. President, there is reports that (INAUDIBLE) that
Vladimir Putin is after you, that Vladimir Putin wants to kill you.
Are you afraid of that, first question?
Second, what can Germany do, what can Europe do, Olaf Scholz, the German chancellor, do right now, that, yes, that you win the war?
ZELENSKY (through translator): I am a living being. And as any living person, we all want to live. And I think if someone is not afraid to lose their life or the lives of their children, then I think that's not a healthy person.
So if you are sending somebody to war, as is happening in that other country, and you're not thinking that these people may die and you're not afraid, you don't have any emotion, you don't feel any emotion about this, I don't think that's normal.
ZELENSKY (through translator): So as any living being, I am -- I fear for the lives of my family. But as my own life goes, I am president of the country and I have no right to be afraid. And if I feel this inside, in certain moments, I feel the same as you.
So we fear for our family and for our loved ones. And we fear of -- we fear losing our home and I fear the idea that I won't have my country. And when I'm asked where I'm from and I might be saying that country doesn't exist anymore, that's my fear. I fear for the next generation.
As for the world, the world must know: the question is not about Scholz or Biden or Macron or other leaders of the world. The question is, that we have said many times, that Ukraine needs security guarantees. And I have been saying this from the start.
As soon as I became president, if you don't show yourselves as a strong union, whether you're NATO or the European Union, the values and the goals are the same: security, economic alliances, cultural alliances.
But that is the world and the unification of values. But if they won't defend their union and then they stop existing -- and I said this openly -- NATO, if they don't defend their countries or their alliances, if they stand up for victory in sanctions and be decisive when there was pressure, there was pressure on the alliance, when there was a Belarusian crisis and they put pressure on the border of Lithuania and Poland.
What was their response from the alliance?
Wait for what?
I'm not saying you should go to war. You don't go to war. The power of this or that alliance is that you prevent a war, that you are so strong that you can sit down at the negotiating table and say, these are our points.
And it cannot be anything else because everybody has equal rights, whether you are an empire or a small country. That is the point of any alliance.
And there was weakness. There was weakness because Lithuania brought us barbed wire for the border.
What sort of alliance is this?
And same with Europe, same with Ukraine. When we were talking about Nord Stream 2, I assured all those leaders you mentioned and the President of the United States, we said, crisis, that there will not be a market. Prices will go up because, in order to become a monopoly, they will switch Ukraine off.
They will not have an alternative supply through Ukraine. And this is the same energy weapon to put pressure on Ukraine and to escalate the rhetoric, which is what is happening now. Lay down your arms. The army must kneel. Put your hands up. And that's just the beginning.
What will happen next?
If Ukraine doesn't stop all this and if the world doesn't unite around Ukraine's resolve -- and I want to thank those countries that are supporting us now and giving us arms and we are grateful -- it is too late. It is too late because we gave them a window. When we were asking for it, we gave them and this window cost thousands of Ukrainian lives.
ZELENSKY (through translator): And that was the price. And that is absolutely true.
And further, what we are seeing through the power of these alliances, if we cease to exist, God forbid, Latvia will be next. Remember this meeting: Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Moldova, Georgia, Poland and all the way to the Berlin Wall.
Believe me, the world must show its strength without fighting, without losing people, because power is diplomacy. The sanctions are serious. And I think that's a good beginning.
ZELENSKY: No-fly zone. Yes, I will answer this question.
I'm sorry, (INAUDIBLE)?
(INAUDIBLE) no-fly zone.
ZELENSKY (through translator): And most important for us is to introduce a no-fly zone over Ukraine. It's because of the incessant bombing of the nonmilitary infrastructure. That's a lie that they're bombing military infrastructure. You can go out and see for yourself the cathedral in Kharkiv. That's a tragic irony.
The president of the Russian Federation said there are so many challenges to nationalism, that Ukraine, one church is infringing on the freedom of another church. And he was talking about the Moscow patriarchate.
And I said we had many churches and they're all equal. And there is no special relationship with any one church. And that's their response, bombing, yesterday or today -- I'm confusing days -- right next to the church in Kharkiv.
A Russian bomb fired on a Moscow patriarchal church. That's how he's protecting his church that he's talking about, that is theirs, although I think they're all Ukrainian. So the bombing, all the windows were smashed. I don't know right now whether there were casualties.
But that's the response. That's the cynicism. And just like Babyn Yar yesterday, five people died, burned alive, because they were going -- they were on their way to Babyn Yar. That's not even funny.
More than 100,000 died in Babyn Yar, Ukrainians and Jews, many minorities in those days, because that was an act of genocide and Nazism. And even now they're bombarding, they're bombing the memorial.
Five people, a whole family died. These were grownups and children. They said they didn't -- they were hitting some military infrastructure.
What can you say to that?
And that's why, every day -- you know last night Kyiv was bombed and other cities were bombed; three bombs hit the center of Kharkiv. And you know what is happening in Kharkiv.
Today and yesterday and the day before and in the other cities of our country -- Mariupol was shelled. That's why we want a no-fly zone because our people are killed, from Belarus and from Russia.
These missiles, these kinds of missiles, bomber planes are coming. And I asked for a no-fly zone. I asked President Biden -- and Scholz and Macron, I think, because I don't remember, because I have 20-23 international phone calls every day. Every day I do this.
Andi said if you can't -- if you can't provide a no-fly zone right now, then tell us when.
If you can't give Ukrainians a date when, how long do you need?
How many people should be blown up?
ZELENSKY (through translator): How many arms and legs and heads, how many should be severed so that you understand, so that you understand?
I will go and I will count them and we will wait until we have a sufficient number.
But if you can't even give us a date, that is what has happened with the sanctions. I asked for preventive sanctions before the war. You will see, they will not advance, give us a full package of sanctions. I asked all the leaders for this. You know the response.
Thank God they have done it now. And thank God the whole world can see this act, that this is working. I will ask the support and right now I'm asking for a no-fly zone. And if you don't have the strength to provide a no-fly zone, then give me planes.
Would that not be fair?
And when they say, well, we have an issue with planes; we need to vote and this and that, we said, we found where the planes were. We found all the planes, there are many, new planes, they're expensive and more expensive than a human life.
Oh, yes, we found -- OK, we found planes that are dated back to the Soviet Union.
Can we have those?
We need them so that we can respond on our own land, not from Russia, not from Belarus but from Ukraine's land, so we can respond to all these launchers and tanks.
QUESTION: Thank you, sir.
QUESTION: You spoke this week with President Biden.
How would you describe your conversations with the U.S. leader?
And do you believe the Americans waited too long to give Ukraine the support you need to push back this Russian offensive?
ZELENSKY: (Speaking Ukrainian).
We must sleep 3-4 hours --
QUESTION: I can ask it again.
ZELENSKY: No, no, just a second, please.
If I spoke with Biden, President Biden, yes. I think yesterday or day before yesterday. I don't remember. And we have good contact. I can tell the truth. And it began after the beginning of this war. But we have it.
And I am -- my appreciation to him and to his team. And so we can speak now often. That is the first part of your question.
And the second part --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking Ukrainian).
ZELENSKY: (Speaking Ukrainian).
ZELENSKY (through translator): Do you think it took too long to provide support?
I told you frankly -- it is not just President Biden. The problem is that the world lacks resolve. And I'm telling you openly, because the world is stronger than the military of President Putin.
I say military because I know that there is not one position. There is the position of the military and the position of Putin; there's the business position; there is the civil position.
And even in the civil position, there are divisions because people watch television and, you know, you're journalists. I did not see your report on Russian television. And I think all of you present here haven't seen much of your reporting on Russian television.
So people are living in a certain information space, shaped by these teams, the military and the presidential administration.
And I would not want any decisions about diplomacy in Europe and NATO and Ukraine, our independence, and nuclear arms that we heard about -- or the possibility of nuclear strikes -- I wouldn't want all of this to be just up to this team who live, who were born and will die in military uniform.
Because there are -- certain decisions that are made suits and diplomats, with all due respect to the military. The military should defend. The military should not attack in a modern world.
So the world is too late for Ukraine. The whole world came too late. And let them forgive me. And their own people told them, not my people. You saw on every square of the world how people come out and support us, because all these people are people.
ZELENSKY (through translator): They are more intelligent than all of us. And they said to their leaders and they put pressure on their leaders. But the whole world must know that they're too late. This policy is too late.
And it isn't the question of somebody being nice to Ukraine or not nice. I am sure that most of them are well disposed to Ukraine and all these leaders -- and nobody was expecting that, in today's world, a human being may behave like an animal. That's all.
QUESTION (through translator): I'm glad I can ask you here in Kyiv, you know that the world is -- has a lot of respect for you as a man of courage, a man who stands in defense of democracy.
Does this help Ukraine? ZELENSKY (through translator): I'll tell you in Russian, too: yes, it helps. It helps a lot. That's a lot of support.
First of all, it is what the Ukrainian people expected from me. But I don't want to say what I was and what I have become. I think we are all people who love their country, it is just that you are where you can be more helpful to your country and to people. And that's what I'm doing. I'm in the place where I can help more.
And to have the support of the people, who go out to the squares and talk to their governments and to have the support of the governments -- and with many leaders, we are -- we are, like, close friends right now. We call each other several times a day and we talk on the mobile.
I like the fact I can WhatsApp with the leaders without all this bureaucratic fuckery (ph), then when you have to order a call and then wait and then wait for another week while people are dying. And right now it is a different time.
And this support is important to me. And I want to tell the world and these wonderful people in the world that I want you to keep up the support. Don't weaken because it gives us a lot of confidence.
If there is no support, I won't be weakened because we are people of peace. But we're not -- we will not surrender. But this support means that we are on the right track. We're doing everything right. And this is the power of the spirit and the power of the world.
And I'm very glad that the world has come together. It is a shame that this was the price.
QUESTION: If you want (INAUDIBLE) assistance from the state of Israel (INAUDIBLE), what (INAUDIBLE)?
And (INAUDIBLE) expectation of the Jewish state?
ZELENSKY: What's going on?
ZELENSKY (through translator): Thank you for your question.
I saw an interesting picture today. Next to the Wailing Wall, there are Jews, Hasidic Jews are different people. And they're all wrapped in yellow and blue flags. There is a photo like that. And I was very impressed. And great respect to the people who did that. They were praying. I don't know how they prayed. And I saw -- I have seen many times -- I
don't know, it is my home. I've always had a very free attitude to any religion. I think everybody has a place on this Earth. But I was so grateful that they were praying.
And I spoke to the leadership of Israel. And I will tell you frankly -- maybe this will sound a little bit offensive but I think I must say this -- we have a good relationship, really. But everything is tested at times like these, with these tense times, when you need a lot of support. And I spoke to him.
ZELENSKY (through translator): And we have a diplomatic relations. But I am not feeling that he is wrapped in our flag.
QUESTION: (Speaking foreign language).
ZELENSKY (through translator): Poland has been helping a lot but everybody is asking what else?
Planes. What we heard, that there are planes; yes, there are planes. I said we don't have problems with Poland. We have a great relationship with (INAUDIBLE). Every day, we speak every day with Duda. He is one of the leaders with whom we have this informal relationship.
He is asking, what are you doing, how can I help you, here is some more blood, Agatha ad I want to give you -- donate blood to you and the injured. Please stay on the line.
And in parallel -- and this is how we work. So when the president of Poland, President Duda calls me and, I say please hang on, on the line, one second, I dial our military and I'm asking, I said, Poland is sending blood.
Shall we take it?
And they say, take it. And I say, Andrzej, let's -- we'll take it. Just imagine how this world has changed and how diplomatic relations have changed. That's the power. That's closeness.
But that's the moment. Poland is like that in everything. We are friends, without exaggeration. We have friendly and bureaucratic relations that is an embrace of support.
But we need planes. And today it is a question between Poland and the U.S., as I understand. And I'm not going to blame anyone because I said, they are doing a lot. That is true. And I'm grateful. I don't know who could have done more. And so I'm grateful.
But there are -- this is the time when we need planes. I can't imagine. We're losing too many people. That's the most difficult part. So I would like to get this resolved.
QUESTION (through translator): Have you got enough weapons to avoid the capture of Kyiv?
And do you think you don't want the war to end?
ZELENSKY (through translator): Thank you. Lavrov said you don't want the world war to end.
Well, you know, every person deserves the face they have got. And the face betrays their life, their road and their end.
I know the road this man has taken. I can read faces. And I am -- I'm pleased to see your face. But I'm not -- it is not interesting to see his face. I saw his for the first time in this long -- this long line.
We were meeting president Trump and there was this scandal about phone calls and so on.
And Lavrov came up to me in the line and he said, "Mr. President, I am the foreign minister."
And I said, yes, I know you are, I watch TV.
And he said, what do you want from Russia?
And I said, look, I just want the truth.
Is this between us?
And he said, yes, of course. It is between us.
And I said, well, between us, I would like you to release our territories and for the relations between our countries to go back about 10 years, because the number of friends I used to have and the relations I used to have in business and with the guys from Russia, that's all gone.
That's changed. That's been buried; generations have been forgotten. And that's wrong. I just want peace.
But that's between us. In terms of peace, that's for everyone. But between us, you really do need to try, not -- stop shouting and calm down your rhetoric so that we can achieve something.
And he told me, "I agree with you."
ZELENSKY (through translator): And he picked up a phone and he turned around and phoned some Russian TV and radio and said, "I have just spoken to President Zelensky and he is ready to meet all our demands."
And that was his response.
That's what -- that's the path these people are taking. They're not ready for peace. They're interested in the road to peace -- the bloody road, a financial road and they're interested in the here and now. They don't care what happens after them. The world is such that there will be a time after them.
And what did you want to ask?
QUESTION (through translator): Did you receive enough weapons to avoid the capture of Kyiv?
ZELENSKY: Nyet, nyet.
ZELENSKY (through translator): And no, I -- there is no sufficiency in weapons. I don't even want to say it. It is not about building up enough weapons. There is a lot of weapons. They are 10 times more than us.
But they are 10 times smaller than us. So it is not about the number of people coming here but their goal, our goal is defense and freedom. That's all. We don't have any other values because our children are our freedom.
What will be left after me?
My children, I want them to be alive. That's all. I don't want anything else. That's what I want on everyone.
Their goal is to get the nation down on its knees, a multiethnic nation, where the people, regardless of their roots or their language, where people feel equal. We are building a society like this.
We only have just begun building it. But we always have been like that. We are a nation united. And that's that Russia is afraid of. Russia is afraid that we are united nations, that we no longer have the government and the people. We have one thing. We are all one country.
And that's what they're afraid of because this unity is everything. We want to defend it and they want to destroy it.
QUESTION (through translator): Are there any guarantees for --
ZELENSKY (through translator): Guarantees for what?
We're not attacking Russia. We're not planning to attack here.
Guarantees of what?
We don't have -- we're not members of NATO. We don't have nuclear weapons.
What am I supposed to give somebody?
It is another information bomb.
What shall I give?
What do you want from us? Please leave our land. If you don't want to leave now, sit down at the table and negotiations. I am free. Sit down. But not 30 meters away, like with Macron or Scholz. I am your neighbor. I don't need to be 30 meters away. I don't bite. I am a normal guy, sit down with me and talk.
What are you afraid of?
We're not threatening anyone. We're not terrorists. We don't rob banks. We don't capture other people's land.
QUESTION: (INAUDIBLE) want to talk to Vladimir Putin. Vladimir Putin has so far not been willing to meet with you.
Do you have a message for him, now that Ukrainian cities are under attack, this city is under attack, a convoy is on its way here?
Is there a way to prevent this war from escalating even further now?
And how are you holding up?
Internationally, you have become incredibly popular. People are comparing you to Winston Churchill. But you're not getting a lot of sleep. You're taking time to talk with us.
How are you holding up under all this pressure?
ZELENSKY (through translator): Message to Putin, Putin --
ZELENSKY: -- what message is -- I want to direct it to Putin.
QUESTION: Exactly. You said you want to talk to Putin.
ZELENSKY: No, no, I'm not -- it is not about I want to talk with Putin. I think I have to talk with Putin. The world has to talk with Putin because there are no other ways to stop this war. That's why I have to.
QUESTION: So what would you tell him?
ZELENSKY: I think I said about it previously on this question, that -- I have -- I'm very honest and --
ZELENSKY: (Speaking Ukrainian).
ZELENSKY (through translator): And open.
Open, yes open. Not interesting word.
QUESTION: Candid, candid.
ZELENSKY: Doesn't matter. I mean that, yep --
ZELENSKY (through translator): I am a (INAUDIBLE) and I know all the problems that the president Vladimir Putin is raising or his entourage or his foreign minister that we have been mentioning.
I think we need to talk with -- talk about, without conditions and without slurs, as man to man, if it is possible. That's important. I don't know what is happening to him, because, judging by his actions, I wonder.
So I'm ready to discuss every issue. I understand them deeply because all these issues, with all these places we're talking about are, our country, Ukraine, the problem of the Russian language, I don't see that problem. But I'm ready to talk about it.
And they occupied Donbas or any other Donbas, the status of LPR and DPR, I know these issues deeply, I know the people, I know the streets. I have been there. I was a very popular man before presidency. And I was a very popular man before the war started, in Donbas and across Ukraine, just as I was known very well in Belarus and Kazakhstan and Russia.
I know the mentality of these people very well. I know where we meet and where we differ and where we can find touchpoints to -- in order not to fight but to speak in peace if there is a desire for it.
I have said many times we are prepared for this. We want peace. Don't talk to us as to a different rank of country or as we are from different planet. We want to talk as human beings on an equal footing. We will talk security or whatever you might call it.
And we will resolve all these issues. That's my message.
ZELENY: (Speaking Ukrainian).
ZELENSKY (through translator): I think he's in another world. He lived in another world. He's a big man. And a man can become a great man for his country. But that isn't decided by this generation. That's decided by future generations.
If -- if you -- maybe I will be remembered some time in future. But the important thing is to be remembered well, not just to be remembered.
Well, I think Churchill also drank a little bit more than me.
QUESTION: (Speaking foreign language). QUESTION (through translator): My first question is to Ukrainians, I had a video message from my friends. What, as people are surrounded, what can they do themselves?
And where can they receive support from?
ZELENSKY (through translator): Thank you. Where the occupiers have entered, it is difficult. And some of these places are defended and some are not, because we are outnumbered 10 times.
We are losing some of these places, some of these little towns and that is true because it isn't just the occupiers but also the sabotage and reconnaissance groups. They are working from inside and these people have been there for a long time. They were renting places and they were already inside and beginning all these occupation actions.
Humanitarian convoys and in terms of food and drink and medication, insulin; I get a lot of requests from pensioners. That's being sent, all the time, to different regions of our state. And they will continue to be sent.
What is interesting is that our humanitarian convoys are prevented from entering by the occupier. So that their humanitarian convoy can enter from the other side. And they do this and then they've recorded from the video camera how they're giving out bread. And we have these recordings, that this happened.
ZELENSKY (through translator): Or they're not allowing people of Kharkiv, who wanted to come out -- we created a green corridor. And the day before yesterday, there was an explosion at the university. And there were casualties, not just Ukrainians but people from India and China and other countries, there were students.
And they just burned them with their shellings, with their shots. So we created a green corridor so they can exit.
And they said, yes, OK.
And so our guys came out by car and those guys were shooting at the car on the road. So as you understand, it is dangerous to go on that road. And so territorial defense, we went to people and said it is -- it is dangerous. You make it short.
So they say, here, we opened another green corridor but go to Russia.
Go to Russia, we will give you food. We will give you water and nobody will be killing you because we're not Ukrainian. That's what's happening.
And there is no question here. We are open. But I cannot cause people to go to Russia. I can't force them. Many of them say, we won't go there. But we have to be open. And anyone who does want to go can go. If they can't stand it, they can go. They have the right. We are open. But you need to understand what is happening. Yes, some villages, they
turn off electricity. They turn off heating and food. They take food away from the shops so that they can then take the same food, which they took half an hour before, from the shops, all the water, all the cigarettes, and then they will hand it out to people.
Here we have brought you food, humanitarian convoy. That's what's happening. That's cynicism. And that's why we're fighting as much as we can. But people need know that, if they want to come out and they need to exit, they have the right to do so. And I have no questions about that.
Please look after yourselves, look after your children in every way you can and do it, because the main thing is life, most important thing. Only God can decide to give it or to take it away.
QUESTION: (INAUDIBLE) Russia, what is your position on that?
ZELENSKY (through translator): To be honest, I don't remember all the details which Turkish representative could say that, especially President Erdogan. We have a very powerful personal relationship, a very good relationship, very warm relationship.
He helps not only with the drones -- and we bought drones and that was great support. There are many aspects in which Erdogan helped Ukraine. And I'm very grateful to him. At the political level, he is also doing a lot so that the president of Russia understands that the war must end.
Not many leaders have this power or this opportunity, not many do. Many want to. But you need to be a powerful and influential state. And to be influencing geopolitics and the economy -- and Erdogan is one such person. He's a serious, powerful president. And he helps. So I don't have any issues with him.
I think he is one of the guarantors of security for Ukraine. And he will be, he'll be one of them, one of the countries that will have to provide security guarantees to Ukraine, when we do sit down at the negotiating table with the president of Russia.
And these security guarantees must be received by Ukraine. So I think he will influence this process. I am confident of that.
QUESTION (through translator): Mr. President, two questions.
How can we help?
What would you say to people who say they want to help?
ZELENSKY (through translator): We have a couple of issues.
ZELENSKY (through translator): Today we deserve -- I think we deserve, again, not by paying the price but we deserve a few things. We deserve to be equal with the countries like Germany and other
countries of European Union in every sense of the word. I think Ukraine's E.U. membership is not the main priority now; security is and the war.
But it is like it is an attitude to us. And it is important and much depends on Scholz here, on Germany.
Second, in principle, like other influential leaders, Germany has to be one of the guarantors of security for Ukraine. And he must come here and not on the side of Russia but as a minimum on the side of justice. And that's second.
Third, I don't think there is room for any more questions of what to give Ukraine and what not to give Ukraine. We cannot beg for anything. With all due respect, we are defending everybody's interests right now. This is the case where I believe -- but please understand me correctly.
I hope it is translated correctly. I'm not saying this out of disrespect. But if somebody is in pain or in difficulty, don't wait for them to call you. You do something. That's what I'm thinking.
Germany experienced a catastrophic period for the image of its history during the Second World War. And throughout the years, during -- throughout the years after the war, it did everything to apologize to the world. That was not Germany. That was Nazi Germany. That was a period.
We understand -- I need to be correct here and I hope this is translated correctly. And they know what happens if you allow this or other wind to blow, with the wind of risk coming not just one country's way but to the whole Europe.
And then it is a tornado that engulfs everything and that becomes horrible. So to restore and to forget everything that happened before, that is impossible. So now -- now we have come this way.
And history of generations, history of generations in that country, they must know that they need to be -- they need to move more quickly than others because they know. They know the risks for the whole of the world, not just for Ukraine. And they must help.
And they must think about it, in public, with Russia. You see, it is important because you have this unpleasant experience. Compared to all the history, it's a small period in history because it is the history of a powerful country, great scientists, great mathematicians and there is much that is great in Germany, musicians.
But it does happen that sometimes one drop, like when you have a new suit and one stain and everything -- everybody can see the red stain. Maybe it is a wine stain. But in this case it is red because it is a blood stain. So that's important to stop it.
And they can help us a lot because here, you shouldn't be looking to preserve your business, preserve your relationship or some energy. That's all in the past. You need to think about the future.
ZELENSKY: (Speaking foreign language).
QUESTION: Hello, I'm from the French television. The war has started one week go almost.
Would you say that it has changed you personally?
And can you tell us about your life?
I mean, in what conditions are you living since the beginning of the war?
ZELENSKY (through translator): It is difficult to say. Life is life. I have a good life today. I feel that I'm needed and I think that is the main essence of life, to be needed, that you're not just an empty shell, breathing and walking and eating but living.
When your life is -- counts for something and to feel that your life has meaning for others, that's great. On the whole, you are in the president's office. Some things have changed. The mood is good. The mood is a fighting one. Our team is working.
We have no deserters, not because deserters get shot during times of war but because nobody deserted. And that's important. That says one thing, that we are Ukrainians and Ukrainians don't run from challenges and problems. They can run ahead of them, not run away from them.
QUESTION (through translator): Important questions, the peace -- the peace talks in Belarus, it is a serious process.
What are we saying to them, item by item?
What are our conditions?
And what do they say to us?
ZELENSKY (through translator): Our task today, well, history isn't about conditions, history is about -- it's -- this is a story of topics, themes. And we are -- we can talk about these topics.
The Russian side has already prepared ready answers to their questions.
What is the point of putting questions when you have the answer already?
And that is the difficulty of this dialogue because there are certain things where you need to find some compromise so that people stop dying. But there are certain things that you can't compromise on.
You just can't go and say, yes, this is yours; yes, Ukraine is part of Russia. That's just not -- that's an impossibility.
So why propose this (INAUDIBLE)?
So certain things, they're just -- they're just spraying them at us. They have a lot of words. They throw a lot of words at us. There are certain points there. And I'm not treating those wordings as a constant.
I think certain wordings are fair because since that -- that side is prepared to destroy us for the sake of those wordings, that means that they are -- because I want to stop the war. So it is fair to raise them.
And so the issue of the balance of our agreements and the issue of desire, everything is up to, you know, whether there is desire to every -- the motivation. Any talks have meaning. Any word is more important than a gunshot. If you can first say, then shoot, then do that. Those are my principles. Thank you.
JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN ANCHOR: You've been listening to the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, speaking for the best part of an hour, visibly tired, admitted that he was sleeping two or three hours a night, speaking to 20 if not more foreign leaders a day.
He was asked some very important questions -- and I'll walk you through some of his answers very quickly.
He was asked, first and foremost, how long can Ukraine hold on?
What are your red lines in terms of negotiations with the Russians?
He never actually got to what the red lines were but his ultimate answer was, we're not holding on for a certain period; this is our job now. This is survival.
He made some claims that I want to put across to you that we can't independently verify.
The prospect of the Russians bringing mobile crematorium chambers, that they're not willing to take their lost soldiers back home, the British defense ministry had talked about that. So we should mention that.
The other thing he talked about, he is still calling for a no-fly zone. He said that that's obviously being challenged by NATO and the United States.
He said how many people should die before we decide?