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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky predicted that the all-out war with the Russian army in the eastern Donbas region would be “a decisive moment or a turning point if we endure it”.
In an interview with Time magazine published on the 28th (local time), President Zelensky said, “Honestly, as a citizen, as a patriot and as president, I believe we will persevere.”
Time held an interview with President Zelensky on the 19th at the office of President Kiiu, the capital of Ukraine, and put his photo on the cover of this Asian edition and covered the interview article as a cover story.
“It will be bigger than any other war on Ukrainian territory,” Zelensky said.
He said he communicates directly with soldiers who are fighting a deadly battle at the Azoustal Works in Mariupol almost every day by phone and text message without going through an aide.
He praised, “They are not only protecting the factories. They are not protecting only Mariupol. What they protect is symbolic. They are protecting us from the Russian army’s ambition to break our spines.”
In this interview, Zelensky also recalled the tense moment on the first day of the Russian invasion.
According to Time magazine, on the first day of the invasion, Russian forces approached in a matter of minutes where they could find President Zelensky, his wife Olena Zelenska, a 17-year-old daughter and a 9-year-old son. It is said that gunshots could be heard in the office.
President Zelensky said he remembered the situation sporadically. He said his children were also at the presidential residence at the time, he said.
The Times reported that the Russian army, which advanced near the presidential office at the time, and the presidential office garrison were in fierce fighting. It is said that the office door was blocked with a police barricade and plywood was added to prepare for intrusion.
However, then President Zelensky is well known for refusing foreign proposals to evacuate abroad and defending Kiiu. At the time, the words “I need bullets, not a train (to leave Kiiu)”, which was handed to the US embassy at the time, were reported around the world.
President Zelensky recently said that the most difficult time of the day to go to bed is.
He said, “Even if today’s schedule is over, I look at the schedule over and over again to see if I did it right or if there is anything else I need to do.” Even while he was sleeping, shells were falling somewhere in the country.
President Zelensky also said he had a hard time controlling his emotions after receiving reports of an attack on the 8th of this month by Russian troops at a train station in the northern Donetsk city of Kramatorsk, which killed more than 52 people.
In particular, he recalled meeting with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on that day, saying, “My hands and feet did not listen. My head was at the station, but my body was at the venue.”
When asked if he regrets going into politics, he replied, “I have no regrets at all. I do not regret even a second. I think it was the right decision.”
When asked if he had lost his sense of humor, he waved his hand: “It’s absolutely impossible.” He added that after the war he became a little wiser, “I became wiser by the number of people killed and tortured by the Russians.”
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