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'Most people won't escape': Zelenskyy interview on front line risks and Ukraine's expectations

'Most people won't escape': Zelenskyy interview on front line risks and Ukraine's expectations President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy (Vitalii Nosach, RBC-Ukraine)

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy believes that Vladimir Putin sees himself as an animal and wants to seize all of Ukraine. If the US doesn't provide a multi-billion-dollar aid package, Putin will "destroy everything," and the number of casualties will reach hundreds of thousands.

RBC-Ukraine publishes Zelenskyy's statements in an interview with BILD.

Russia's massive offensive in Kharkiv

Zelenskyy implies that a massive Russian offensive on Kharkiv is not out of the question, as at the beginning of the invasion in 2022.

"Putin, of course, wanted to seize Kharkiv because it is a significant symbol for him. Kharkiv is one of Ukraine's capitals, so it holds great symbolic value. But Ukraine is ready to thwart Russia's conquest plans. We are doing everything possible to prevent this from happening," he said.

At the same time, he acknowledges that Russian attacks on energy infrastructure are successful. According to him, they greatly impact the course of the war.

"Putin will destroy everything" without US aid

Zelenskyy complains about the lack of air defense systems. In his opinion, this further irritates Vladimir Putin.

"Putin only understands strength. He sees himself as an animal: if you can't defend yourself, he will destroy even more. Because his desire is to seize all of Ukraine," he said.

If the US doesn't provide a new arms package, "Putin will destroy everything."

"He will kill many people. Most people won't escape, so he will kill many of them. What will it look like? There will be a lot of blood. There will be many casualties, many losses. We're talking about hundreds of thousands," the president said.

Can Ukraine defend itself

Zelenskyy asks for help with weapons, but this time he means not tanks or missiles but air defense systems (ADS) to defend against Russian drones and missiles. He also stressed the successful attacks by Ukrainian drones.

"We have a good drone production. But drones do not replace ADS, long-range missiles, and artillery," he said, implying that Ukraine cannot defend or attack solely with drones.

Why Germany refuses to supply Taurus missiles

"Our partners have certain weapons that we need today to survive. I just don't understand why we're not getting these weapons," he said, commenting on the need for German Taurus missiles, American ATACMS, and F-16 fighters.

According to him, he discusses the Taurus issue with Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

"I think the issue is not that simple. As far as I understand, the chancellor says that Germany is not a nuclear state and that this is the most powerful weapons system in Germany," Zelensky added. Therefore, Scholz cannot leave his country without Taurus.

According to him, the refusal to supply missiles is related to Putin's nuclear threats.

"Scholz said, 'That's how it is.' But I don't think this will protect the world from Russia's nuclear threat," he added.

Freezing the war would be a break for Putin

Zelenskyy is satisfied with relations with Scholz, but he warns against German voices that want to "freeze the war." According to him, Scholz will not be a chancellor of peace if he starts pushing for a conflict freeze.

Putin will use this only to prepare for a new attack.

"Of course, some will be happy. The world will say, 'Yes, we managed to freeze the conflict, missiles are not flying.' But only until Russia simply increases production and stocks of military equipment, missiles, drones, and analyzes all the mistakes it made at the beginning," the president said.

He also warns against believing in freezing the conflict.

"It's like a break when you watch a movie. But this is not a movie, it's reality. It's a break. And it's a break for Putin," he added.

How to defeat Russia and counteroffensive plan

The Ukrainian leader believes in victory over Russia. It can only be achieved with modern weapons, but a package worth tens of billions of dollars has been blocked in the US Congress for several months.

"Yes, Russia has more people, more weapons. But the united West has modern weapons systems. So we will get certain technologies. And if we continue to increase production, if we get licenses from our partners, then it's not about the number of people. It's about the quality of weapons," he said.

Zelenskyy also states that Ukraine has a counteroffensive plan. But weapons are also needed.

Trump wants to come to Ukraine

Presumably, that's why Zelenskyy's team has already reached out to Donald Trump, the Republican candidate for president of the United States, who is blocking the package and fueling anti-Ukrainian sentiments.

"I didn't call him myself. We invited him to Ukraine both publicly and privately. We expressed the desire for Donald Trump to come to Ukraine, to see the situation with his own eyes and draw certain conclusions. I am definitely ready to meet with him," the Ukrainian president said.

According to him, Trump responded that he wants to come, "but doesn't know when he can do it."

Trump's 'peace plan' is very primitive

Western media articles about Trump's alleged "peace plan" raise skepticism in Zelenskyy. According to it, Ukraine is supposed to give up part of the east part of the country and Crimea.

"If the issue is that we simply give away our territories, then the idea is very primitive. I think if Trump really has an approach to quickly end the war, then I would be very happy to hear this idea. But we need weighty arguments. We need not a fantastic idea, but a real one. It's about human lives, we can't joke and we can't take risks," he said.

There will be no negotiations with Putin. Victory has no alternative

Zelenskyy has no intention of entering into negotiations with Putin and is not ready to surrender territories. Among other reasons, the Russian dictator cannot be trusted.

"We are dealing with Putin here. Everything he has said so far - after that he did differently. We cannot trust him. We can agree on everything, but the question is whether he will stick to it," he said.

The president is confident in the future victory since there is no alternative for Ukraine.

"But I cannot promise and give a date," he added.