Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has urged US counterpart Joe Biden to give a strong and “useful” message about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine at his State of the Union speech on Tuesday, in an exclusive interview with CNN and Reuters from the bunker in Kyiv in which he is leading his military’s response.
“It’s very serious … I’m not in a movie,” Zelensky, a former comedy actor, told CNN. “I’m not iconic, I think Ukraine is iconic … Ukraine is the heart of Europe, and now I think Europe sees Ukraine is something special for this world. That’s why [the] world can’t lose this something special.”
Zelensky previously said he is the number-one target for Russian forces, but he has decided to stay in the country’s capital. He discussed the talks undertaken by Ukrainian and Russian officials in Belarus.
“They decided to begin to speak about the situation. And I wanted — I really wanted — and I urged them, you have to, first of all, everybody has to stop fighting and to go to that point from where … it began, five, six — today, six days ago. I think there are principal things you can do it, and that is [a] very important moment. If you’ll do these and if those side is ready, it means that they are ready for the peace. If they don’t ready, it means that you’re just, you know, just … wasting time,” he said.
He was asked by CNN’s Matthew Chance: “Do you think you’re wasting your time or do you think they’re ready?” to which Zelensky responded, “we’ll see.”
More from Zelensky: The Ukrainian president earlier said the protection of the country’s capital, Kyiv, is the “key priority” for the state.
“We are fighting just for our land and our freedom,” Zelensky told European Parliament today, causing the EU translator on the English language feed to choke up with emotion. “We desire to see our children alive. I think it’s a fair one.”
“We are fighting for our life … We are fighting for survival. This is the highest of our motivation,” Zelensky said.
“But we are fighting also to be equal members of Europe,” he added. “I believe that today we are showing everybody that’s exactly what we are.”
Zelensky requested for Ukraine to be added to the EU on an expedited process on Monday.
He received a standing ovation across the chamber both before and after his speech.
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