Donbass, Macron, Le Pen … What to remember from Zelensky’s interview on BFMTV

Volodymyr Zelensky gave an exceptional interview to Ulysse Gosset and Yves Calvey for BFMTV. In this long interview broadcast on Wednesday, the Ukrainian president evokes the atrocities inflicted on his people since the end of February, the ongoing attack in Donbass, as well as his relations with Emmanuel Macron or Marine Le Pen.

On the 56th day of the war, fighting escalated in eastern Ukraine, as Moscow focused on the Donbass region, which it considered its own.

The siege of Mariupol, diplomatic relations with France and Emmanuel Macron, the Russian offensive in the Donbass, talks with Russia, talks with Marine Le Pen … Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky gave a lengthy interview with Yves Calvi and Ulysses Gossett for BFMTV, in which he evokes the tragic situation in his country Since February 24.

“The war did not start on February 24, but rather 8 years ago.”

During this interview, Volodymyr Zelensky said that he considered that the Russo-Ukrainian war began not on February 24 but “8 years ago”, when Russia decided to annex Crimea.

“I would like the whole world to understand that the war began 8 years ago, in 2014 or 2015. On February 24, it was the “only” beginning of large-scale Russian interference in our territory,” the president wants to correct a situation.

Ukraine is not afraid of the date of May 9

As the Ukrainian president told our reporters, “As you know, we are not afraid of May 9,” referring to the date when Russia might declare its “so-called military victory.”

“Understandably, the leaders of the Russian Federation are very fond of symbols,” notes Volodymyr Zelensky, before comparing (without naming him) Putin’s regime to Nazi Germany: “It reminds me of some leaders of other countries who were very attached to numerology and symbols, but you should know that for us In Ukraine, May 9 is also a holiday, a celebration of victory during World War II.

Zelensky fears that Russia has not mustered all its means in Donbass

The Ukrainian president says he understands that Russia “has not yet mobilized all its capabilities” in Ukraine. “Today I cannot say that a large-scale attack has begun in the Donbass,” warns the president.

In his words, the Russians “are advancing and leaving nothing behind.” “They do not occupy these cities because there is nothing left to occupy: no more buildings, no more people. (…) You have to understand what is happening in the Donbass: they take small villages like Volnovaki and destroy everything, all the houses, and they did not survive. One person. And there is no survivor among those who could not escape. Volnovaka was simply wiped off the map.”

He admits that it is “a significant threat, and there are reasons for concern”. “But we will be ready to respond,” he said. “We have never wanted to seize other people’s lands but are ready to defend our own/”

Zelensky invites Macron to come and watch the “genocide”

When asked about his relationship with Emmanuel Macron, Volodymyr Zelensky raised “good relations” with the French president. “They have improved and are getting warmer,” said the Ukrainian head of state, who regularly speaks on the phone with his French counterpart.

Three days before the second round of the presidential election, Volodymyr Zelensky says he does not want to lose this connection with Emmanuel Macron. On the war in Ukraine, “I think he is in a very difficult situation because a lot of the business was directed towards Russia, and it is known that the Russian elites came to rest in France … in Nice, in they had yacht villas on the coast.”

“We understand the weight of the Russian oligarch’s money on the French economy. I understand that the internal pressure must be very great, but President Macron must choose between money and the struggle for freedom and human rights. Man,” further advances Zelensky, before “his invitation to go to Ukraine To come and watch the genocide” underway in his country.

Macron and Putin talks yielded no results

However, the President of Ukraine believes that it is “very difficult” for him to judge whether Emmanuel Macron will continue to meet regularly with President Vladimir Putin, as he has done since the beginning of the conflict.

“It is difficult for me to answer after what Ukraine has seen before the eyes of the whole world. I think that Macron understands that the hope for dialogue with Putin is in question, especially because there was no result of this dialogue,” unlike what happened in Normandy in 2019. “Of course The result was not 100% effective, but there were communications, a stop-and-go system. A fire. But you know the water has been flowing under the bridge since then.”

“Officially, the Ukrainian delegation is still talking with Russia. But with each passing day, after every day Bucha or Mariupol, faith diminishes that these talks will succeed,” he adds.

Discussion with Marine Le Pen in the event of elections? “It all depends”

When asked if he would be ready to discuss with Marine Le Pen if she was elected on Sunday, Volodymyr Zelensky said: “It all depends, not on his situation but first of all on his principles, I will not say not even his speech.”

“If she understands and admits that she was wrong, our situation may change,” said the Ukrainian president, acknowledging that he would prefer not to “lose his good relations” with President Macron.

“We saw how the French took to the streets in support of the Ukrainian people, before we said: ‘I deeply respect the history of France and your people. We cannot speak against France.'”

The destruction of 95% of the city of Mariupol and Zelensky accuses Russia of ‘terrorism’

Asked about the situation in Mariupol, a city in southeastern Ukraine that has been under siege for nearly two months, Volodymyr Zelensky described the situation as catastrophic: “Not only are soldiers hostage, but civilians are also forbidden: children, old people … It’s not even anymore war, but rather an act of terrorism on the part of the Russian Federation. ”

“Everything is destroyed, 95% of all buildings are destroyed, including schools, kindergartens and living quarters. You have to understand that they continue to bomb 4-5% of life,” it remains, shooting everywhere. That’s why they’re just afraid to go out.”

During this interview, the Ukrainian president also accused Russia of holding Ukrainians who fled to the territory it controls in “special camps”. “Everyone who went to the lands controlled by the Russians has disappeared,” Volodymyr Zelensky laments. “You should know that all these people have disappeared, including many children who went in this direction. They are in special camps on Russian soil. It is a great tragedy.”

Jane Polant BFMTV journalist

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