Zelensky: “Seven missiles have been launched on a holiday. They are bastards” | International
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In a public appearance before some 50 domestic and foreign media, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky held a surreal press conference on Saturday in the kyiv metro, which began as the last trains passed. Temperamental and direct, as usual, Zelenski was moved when talking about the children trapped in Mariupol, the seven missiles that fell on Saturday in southern Ukraine before a religious holiday and, visibly moved, called “bastards” on several occasions those who ordered that attack that left five dead, including a three-month-old child, and 18 wounded, when the missiles hit a residential area of Odessa, on the Black Sea coast. ”They killed a three-month-old baby. The war started when this baby was one month old. They are just bastards. I have no other words in this context. They’re just bastards.”
Asked if he still wants a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin and if he thinks such a meeting would be useful, Zelensky said: “I have insisted from the beginning on the need to negotiate with the leader of the Russian Federation because I believe that any meeting through mediators will not give the desired effect.” “This war can only be stopped by the one who started it,” he said.
On these peace negotiations, Zelensky discredited the steps taken so far: “Our partners, both European and the United States and Canada, see what Russia is doing and what it says about Ukraine not wanting to sit at the negotiating table to end to the war”. “All this has caused a cumulative effect, and even if we sit down with Russia, that will generate trust in our partners, but finally they are seeing what Russia, whom nobody trusts, is doing,” he assured. “Russia and confidence are antonyms. They just say one thing, but their words don’t match their actions,” he added.
Dressed in military green, sitting on a platform on the platforms of a central station in the capital, Zelensky responded about the fear of meeting the Russian president because some members of his informal negotiating group reported having suffered symptoms similar to those of a poisoning after some meetings with his counterpart. Zelensky called those episodes “assassination attempts” and said his security team and his family were worried, but he couldn’t be. “I am not afraid of meeting Putin or assassination attempts,” he said. “I have no right to be afraid because our people have shown that they are not afraid of anything. They fear for their children, that is true, but the people stopped the tanks with their bare hands.”
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Regarding the critical situation in Mariupol, where the evacuation of hundreds of people, isolated and without food in the besieged city in southeastern Ukraine, was scheduled for Saturday, the former soap opera actor blamed Russia for the failure in the evacuation. Zelensky said that if Russia kills any supporters of Mariupol or goes ahead with the independence referendum in the partially occupied southern regions Kherson and Zaporizhia, Ukraine will immediately suspend negotiations with Moscow. “If they kill our people in Mariupol, if they announce a pseudo-referendum in the new pseudo-republics, Ukraine will not participate in any negotiation process,” he insisted. According to Zelensky, going ahead with a referendum “is not helpful for a solution and will interfere with ending the war through diplomatic channels.” “This is a wrong move by Russia, and it makes clear the futility of all the above, such as meetings with diplomats. All that was just fiction and political theater, by the way, with very bad actors, ”he added in an apocalyptic setting surrounded by heavily armed men and adorned with the flags of his country near the escalators.
The Ukrainian president confirmed that the planned evacuation of civilians in the city of Mariupol did not take place, and blamed Russia for the failure. A city council official said more than 300 people, including 90 children, were forcibly deported to Russia from the enclave.
Precisely in the south of the country the new war front has been opened, specifically near Moldova. In this sense, Zelensky insisted that Putin’s invasion is “only a beginning” and that Moscow intends to capture other countries after a command of the Russian forces said that they aspire to total control of southern Ukraine. Regarding the role of Russian society in the conflict, the president also held the population responsible for having chosen their rulers: “They should accept that they are guilty, their authorities are guilty, but they chose these authorities,” he said. “You can’t say, ‘I have nothing to do with this.’ They should be able to say that they feel like citizens of Russia and feel this responsibility.” Zelensky compared living in Russia to living in a video game. “Living in the Russian Federation is like living in virtual reality,” he said.
Zelensky announces that Blinken and Austin will visit kyiv this Sunday
Zelenski announced that this Sunday he will meet with the United States Secretaries of Defense and State, Lloyd Austin and Antony Blinken. “I don’t think it’s a secret that people from the United States are coming tomorrow,” said the president, referring to the two American politicians.
The US president, Joe Biden, had already announced last week that he was working on the trip of senior officials of his Government to Ukraine. “We hope that when security permits, the president of the United States will come talk to us,” Zelensky added.
Blinken and Austin’s trip to kyiv, which coincides with the celebration of Orthodox Easter, adds to the visits made by other political leaders, who wanted to show their support for Ukraine with their presence. The last to visit the country, on Thursday, were the President of the Spanish Government, Pedro Sánchez, and the Danish Prime Minister, Mette Frederiksen. Before them, among others, the Polish Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki; Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala; the Slovenian, Janez Jansa, or the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson. Among the high officials of the EU, the president of the European Commission, Ursula von de Leyen; the president of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola; the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, and the High Representative for Foreign Policy, Josep Borrell.
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