Zelensky Hosts News Conference, Addressing Negotiations With Russia

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KYIV, Ukraine — Unshaven and sporting a army T-shirt, a haggard President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine on Thursday hosted his first information convention because the warfare started, inviting journalists into his workplace constructing, now fortified with sandbags.

In an animated briefing, Mr. Zelensky, whose defiance has made him a logo of Ukrainian resistance to the Russian invasion, laid out the state of negotiations with Russia, voiced satisfaction in his individuals, pleaded for a no-fly zone and spoke frankly about concern of dying.

Past the solutions Mr. Zelensky supplied to questions, pulling a chair near attending journalists, the information convention appeared meant to sign that his battered authorities is a minimum of nonetheless functioning per week into the warfare, regardless of more and more dire situations in Kyiv.

Mr. Zelensky mentioned he was significantly happy with bizarre Ukrainians’ resistance to the Russian assault, a seething, indignant rebellion by a lot of society whilst Russian tanks bore down on main cities and the capital.

“That’s the reason I’m so sturdy and so decisive,” he mentioned. “We’ve got a particular individuals, a unprecedented individuals.” He mentioned that no senior officers had fled the nation, and several other high aides turned up on the information convention.

Mr. Zelensky mentioned he had appealed to Western leaders for added army help, together with asking President Emmanuel Macron of France and Chancellor Olaf Scholz of Germany to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine, an unlikely proposition, whereas additionally pursuing negotiations with the Russian management. The second of two rounds of talks with Russia in latest days occurred on Thursday.

“We’re prepared to talk on all matters,” he mentioned. Mr. Zelensky’s negotiator on the talks, Mykhailo Podolyak, mentioned later Thursday negotiations wrapped up with an settlement on cease-fire corridors for civilians to flee heavy fight, however no progress on a settlement.

“The Russian aspect has way back shaped the solutions to their questions,” Mr. Zelensky mentioned. “What’s the level of posing questions should you way back have the solutions? For now, that is the issue of this dialogue.”

He mentioned he was able to compromise on some factors, however he didn’t specify which, and mentioned he wouldn’t bend on situations threatening Ukrainian sovereignty.

“There are points the place it’s wanted to seek out compromise, so individuals don’t die, and there are points the place there might be no compromise,” he mentioned. “Nicely, we can’t simply say, ‘right here it’s, it’s your nation now, Ukraine is a part of Russia.’ That is simply inconceivable. So why recommend it?”

Reporters arrived on the presidential workplace in minivans that wove via concrete boundaries and metal I-beams welded into crosses and positioned on the streets to gradual tanks. Within the authorities district of Kyiv, normally a quiet, leafy neighborhood of workplaces and stylish, nineteenth century condominium blocks, armored vehicles blocked crossroads.

The vans sped via a warren of courtyards and right into a again entrance to the presidential workplace constructing. Contained in the constructing, safety officers escorted journalists by flashlight via darkened corridors full of troopers.

Sandbags had been stacked alongside the windowsills. At doorways, firing positions had been in place to shoot from inside Mr. Zelensky’s workplace compound onto the road outdoors, suggesting a readiness to carry out even when avenue combating reaches the positioning.

Mr. Zelensky thanked the reporters for turning up.

“It’s finest to see it with your personal eyes,” he mentioned of town’s preparations for protection. Nonetheless, he mentioned, he was doing all he may to barter.

Mr. Zelensky mentioned he was getting about three hours of sleep an evening. His cheeks sagged with weariness. He was, although, animated and gestured energetically to drive dwelling factors.

Although the briefing was held in a convention room to recommend some modicum of normality, troopers with assault rifles stood within the room and the home windows had been blocked by piles of white sandbags.

He reiterated his request for direct talks with President Vladimir V. Putin, one thing the Russian chief has rebuffed each earlier than and after the beginning of hostilities.

“It’s not that I need to discuss to Putin,” he mentioned. “I want to speak to Putin. The world wants to speak to Putin. There isn’t a different technique to cease this warfare.”

Of the battle and what he described as experiences the Russian military didn’t intend to repatriate its warfare useless to keep away from stirring antiwar sentiment at dwelling, he mentioned, “it is a nightmare. I can’t even think about the kind of man who would plan such acts.”

Most of the Russian troopers had been 18- and 19-year-olds, mentioned Mr. Zelensky, who’s 45. He famous that the troopers are concerning the age of his personal daughter and “could possibly be my youngsters.” He added: “They’ll die in uniforms due to selections made by males in fits.”

Mr. Zelensky mentioned he had requested Mr. Scholz and Mr. Macron to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine. The concept has been largely rebuffed by Western governments as all however inconceivable, for risking direct battle between NATO and Russian forces.

However he mentioned that Russian aggression would solely unfold if not stopped in Ukraine. The management in Moscow, he mentioned, would in some unspecified time in the future push on to different Japanese European international locations and ultimately construct a brand new “Berlin Wall.”

He criticized German officers for working at cross-purposes with Western efforts to stress Russia right into a settlement within the long-simmering jap Ukraine warfare by constructing a brand new pure gasoline pipeline, Nord Stream 2, to Russia. The pipeline was meant to offer low-cost power for Germany’s economic system, although the challenge is now suspended.

Mr. Zelensky, a former comic who has all the time had a eager sense of picture and storytelling in politics, mentioned he was conscious that his repeated televised appeals for resistance, and continued presence within the beleaguered capital, had turned him into a logo in lots of international locations of bravery and protection of democracy. That was serving to Ukraine, he mentioned.

“I’m very completely happy the world united” to help Ukraine, mentioned Mr. Zelensky, who has refused to the flee the nation, turning down a reported American evacuation supply. “I want ammunition, not a experience,” he mentioned on the time.

Mr. Zelensky did have caustic phrases for Prime Minister Naftali Bennett of Israel, who has balanced help for Ukraine with an effort to take care of ties with Russia and had blocked some transfers of weapons to Ukraine that embrace Israeli-manufactured elements. Mr. Zelensky, who’s Jewish, famous {that a} Russian missile this week killed 5 civilians on the territory of a Holocaust memorial website in Kyiv, Babyn Yar. The missile had focused a tv broadcasting tower.

Mr. Zelensky mentioned he was impressed to see pictures of individuals praying on the Western Wall in Jerusalem wrapped in blue and yellow Ukrainian flags. He urged it was time for the Israeli authorities to take an ethical stand. “All the things is examined by this second,” he mentioned. “I don’t really feel that he’s wrapped within the flag of Ukraine,” he mentioned of Mr. Bennett.

Requested if he was afraid of dying within the warfare, he mentioned all people has such fears.

“I’m an alive individual, like all human being,” he mentioned. “And if an individual shouldn’t be afraid of shedding his life, or the lives of his youngsters, there’s something unwell about that individual.” He added, although, that as president, “I merely shouldn’t have the suitable” to be afraid.

If he weren’t president, he mentioned, he most likely would have joined the volunteers who accepted rifles when the army began handing them out final week, and so can be going through dangers in any case. He mentioned he may additionally have chosen to assist by handing out meals to troopers as a substitute. He quipped that, “I’m most likely not nearly as good a shot as another individuals.”

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