According to the President’s official website, the Ukrainian leader “answered questions about the security situation around Ukraine and Europe, the consequences of recent cyberattacks, countering hybrid threats, including Nord Stream 2, the likelihood of escalation of Russia’s armed aggression against Ukraine, as well as the imposition of sanctions and other measures by international partners in the event of such an escalation.”

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But observers have already noted that on this occasion Zelensky spoke explicitly about Russia’s possible goals.

“I will say realistically if Russia decides to enhance their escalation, of course, they are going to do this on those territories where historically there are people who used to have family links to Russia.

Kharkiv, which is under Ukraine government control, could be occupied

the president said.

“Russia needs a pretext: They will say that they are protecting the Russian-speaking population. After the occupation and the annexation of Crimea, we understand that this is feasible and may happen. But I don’t know what they are going to do because these are big cities. Kharkiv has over 1 million citizens. It’s not going to be just an occupation; it’s going to be the beginning of a large-scale war,” Zelensky surmised.

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The Ukrainian leader’s frank acknowledgment of the immediacy of the Russian threat contrasts with his televised appeal to his people on Jan. 19 not to panic and remain calm.

See the interview here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2022/01/20/ukraine-russia-zelensky-interview/

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