In a long interview with Ukrainian TV host Natalya Moseychuk, President Volodymyr Zelensky talked about how to fight corruption during the war, the support of international partners, whether Ukraine will join NATO, and the future of Ukraine’s defense against Russia’s full-scale war.

Russia will no longer be able to occupy Ukraine

According to Zelensky, Ukraine would have lost this war “if people were not sure that these were favorable victories.”

“It’s already clear that he [Putin] has not occupied us as he wanted. We did it, [we defended against his attack], this is already a great victory for the people,” the president said.

But he warned this isn’t the end, and the war could continue for a long time, highlighting Israel as a case study: “Israel is fighting. Seeing what kind of war that is.

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“We are ready to fight for a long time without losing people. It can be so. Minimize casualties following Israel’s example. You can live like that.”

A war on Russian territory would be a bad choice

Zelensky does not see the expediency of moving the war to inside Russia.

“There would be a big risk that we would be definitely left alone and on our own,” Zelensky believes.

According to Zelensky, if Ukrainian troops were sent into Russia, then the allies may refuse to help Kyiv.

Security guarantees

Ukraine’s Western allies are hesitant to provide security guarantees to Ukraine, as they fear a direct confrontation with Moscow, Zelensky said, although he doesn’t rule out that it would be possible to reach an agreement with the United States:

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“From the US, we probably have the Israeli model, where there are weapons, technologies, training, and financial aid,” he said.

Agreements on some items with other partners are possible.

“There should be sanctions, weapons, finance, air defense systems, aircraft – the menu is large, but the client is different, let’s put it that way.

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“With the United States, it will be a more powerful bilateral treaty, with Britain – a strong one,” he said.

“There are states that simply do not have weapons, but they have finances, serious sanctions in case of repeated aggression.”

But referring to troops from NATO countries fighting in Ukraine, something which is certainly not on the table, Zelensky said: “We don't need them, because it would be a NATO war, and that would mean the Third World War.”

Membership in NATO

Ukraine expects to receive an invitation to join NATO in 2024, according to Zelensky.

“If invited, there are countries that have experienced signs of not being welcomed by a member among the allies. Well, for example, our Swedish partners. An invitation is not everything, but it’s very, very close,” Zelensky believes.

For him, the invitation is a decision for the world, where the country will be in the international geopolitical sphere. “I fought for the invitation only because of this,” the president said.

Liberation of Crimea without weapons

Zelensky still hopes that there will be no hostilities in Crimea. He hopes liberation will take place by way of political pressure.

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“I believe that it’s possible to politically push for the demilitarization of Russia on the territory of the Ukrainian Crimea. That would be better. Any combat would still have losses [casualties], wherever it is. Everything must be calculated.”

Zelensky says Ukraine needs to take control of the administrative border with the peninsula at a minimum.

Corruption is treason

Zelensky wants legislation that would officially equate corruption during the war with treason and the corresponding bill will be submitted to the Ukrainian parliament soon.

“The legislature will be offered my proposals on equating corruption during wartime with treason. I understand that such a weapon can’t work permanently in the public sphere, but in wartime, I think it will help... We are developing a democratic society. And it’s very important not to turn the screws,” Zelensky said.

He believes that such a law will become a “serious tool for making people not even think" of embezzling public funds.

“But this is not a shooting, this is not Stalinism. It’s simply this: If there is evidence, the person should be behind bars,” he said.

About possible corrupt people in his circle, Zelensky said that he is ready to fire anyone found guilty. “I don’t have ‘my own’ or ‘not my own.’ There is an honest person or a dishonest person. If there is evidence that a person is dishonest, I will fire such a person. I don’t have any internal issues with this.”

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Elections of a new president and parliament

“I don’t want the authorities to have the attitude that they are holding on [to their positions]. I am not clinging on to anything. I would like to hold elections,” said Zelensky, answering the question of whether there will be elections in Ukraine, which international partners insist on.

He doesn’t even mind if it happens next year. But under certain conditions: “If you [allies] are ready to give me 5 billion because I can't just take 5 billion from the state budget. It seems to me that this is the amount needed to hold elections at a normal time.

“And in wartime, I don't know what this amount is, that’s why I said – if the US and Europe give us financial support. I’m sorry, I’m not asking for anything. I will not hold elections on credit. I will not take money from weapons and give it for elections either.”

And these elections must be organized and held also with the participation of allies.

“The most important thing: let’s take risks together. The observers should then be in the trenches, they will need to be sent to the front line,” the president suggested.

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So far, there has been no response from the allies regarding this matter.

Development of defense production

Zelensky said that Ukraine is currently a leader in the security industry. He said that Ukraine has accepted the request of partners to hold a forum in the field of military tech, which will be held in Ukraine in October.

Many of the world’s leading enterprises are expected to attend the forum. Ukraine expects it may sign some beneficial contracts with allied partners during the event.

Even now Ukrainian defense industry has seen restoration of production. Neptune, Stuhna, and Corsar missiles are being actively manufactured and used in battle.

According to Zelensky, Ukraine has established the production of NATO-style artillery: “It has never been in Ukraine and should not be, but we were able to come to an agreement. We have domestic artillery on the battlefield today, using NATO-standard 155mm shells, which have never been seen before in Ukraine. We now have production and production of not one system, but several systems.

“This still isn’t enough, less than needed for the front, but it is already many times more than it was.”

Zelensky said the production of some types of weapons will require further discussions with partners.

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Comments (4)

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Joseph Swanson
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Zelenskyy should really not compare Ukraine and Israel.
First, Israel is an apartheid state who has committed and continues to commit atrocities against the Palestinian people.  Ukraine is not committing any atrocities against russians.
Second, the security guarantee or the "Israel model..." Israel has nuclear weapons.  Ukraine does not and will never be afforded this right.  
And yes, corruption is in fact treason. Of course those not in touch with the reality of wars in the west will possibly deem this as "excessive government power" as typed by SALOMONKYN in this comment section. The west is never happy...if Ukraine does not address corruption then we hear cries of..."Ukraine is the most corrupt nation in Europe." If the Ukrainian government takes action to address corruption we now hear cries of..."excessive government power."
As for "international partners" INSISTING on elections in Ukraine I say...use your brain...there is a war going on...this means voter safety cannot be guaranteed and not everyone can vote with missiles, rockets, and bombs going off all over the place.  The fact this must be explained to "international partners" says there is a disconnect from the reality of war among them.  Then again, maybe this is what the "international partners" want...more dead Ukrainians and a new inexperienced Ukrainian government, which will be in chaos and communist russia walks right in and takes over.

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chudson
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Churchill's political coalition avoided an election while the war was on. Its ludicrous for Ukraine to have one while the country is being invaded !

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SalomonKyn
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Comparing Ukraine's situation to Israel's ongoing conflicts is inappropriate.
Israel's history and challenges are vastly different from Ukraine's.
Zelensky's willingness to continue the war for a long time while minimizing casualties may raise concerns about the potential humanitarian toll and the long-term impact on Ukraine's society and economy.
The expectation of receiving an invitation to join NATO in 2024 might be overly optimistic, given the complexities and disagreements within the alliance about expansion.
While equating corruption with treason during wartime might be intended to deter corruption, it could also be criticized as potentially giving the government excessive power to label individuals as traitors without due process.
Zelensky's statement about holding elections if given financial support could be interpreted as conditional and might raise concerns about the integrity of Ukraine's democratic process.

Kermudjin
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@SalomonKyn, Perhaps a more apropos analogy would be the Dayton Accords between Bosnia and Serbia, splitting B&H into two internal enemy states, with Republika Srpska taking half the territory after a genocidal Serbian campaign in Bosnia.

But 99% of the world has never heard of this or considered how, after coming to the defense, Clinton and NATO ended up giving the Serbs what they sought. Similar to the Partition of India between Hindus and Moslems.

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Barruntaranchos
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I don´t think President Zelensky is right when using Israel as an example for the present situation in Ukraine. First, because of the shameful role of Israel in this conflict, remaining "neutral" like China, India or Brazil. Second, because in no case USA is going to consider Ukraine like Israel, no matter if the White House is occupied by Byden or Trump. Israel receives an special treatment like no other country in the world, and Ukraine will never receive such treatment. On the rest of his words, I agree and think he is smart, brave and both Ukraine and Europe owes him a lot, but mentioning Israel is a huge mistake.

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