In an interview with The Economist, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that Vladimir Putin sees Ukraine as part of a worldview that does not correspond to what has happened in the last 30 years. "I do not think Putin was in a shelter for two weeks or six months, but probably for two decades," he said.
He blamed Russian forces for the abduction and assassination of Ukrainian mayors and stressed the bravery of ordinary citizens who stood tall in front of Russian tanks. "I will stay with these people until the end," he says.
Regarding this "end" he states emphatically: "We believe in victory. It is impossible to believe in anything else. We will definitely win because this is our home, our land, our independence. It's a matter of time. "
He describes the Ukrainian victory as the salvation of as many lives as possible: "Our land is important, yes, but in the end it is just land." He does not know when the war will end, but "it will end with us still standing here defending life in Ukraine."
However, he says that in order for this victory to come, armaments from the West are also needed, namely tanks, armored personnel carriers and fighter jets. "(Westerners) can not say 'we will help you in the coming weeks'. "This does not allow us to unblock the Russian-occupied cities, to bring food to the people there, to take the military initiative into our own hands."
Finding the courage to make humor, he comments that on the contrary the Russians have so many tanks that in some cities there is "tank traffic".
It classifies NATO countries into five categories: those that have no problem with a lasting war because Russia would be exhausted, even if it means the death of Ukraine - those who want a quick end to the war because of economic ties with Russia - those who recognize "Nazism in Russia" and want the victory of the Ukrainians - those who want an end to war because they think of people first - and those who "embarrassed" want peace because they are "the offices of the Russian Federation in Europe."
He makes special mention of the support from the USA and the United Kingdom, while on the contrary he comments that Germany is trying to keep balance. Asked why leaders like French President Macron do not donate tanks, President Zelensky said they were "afraid of Russia".
He reiterated the view that sanctions should have been preventive rather than responsive. "We hear that the decision (on a European embargo on Russian oil and gas) depends on whether Russia launches a chemical attack on us. This is not the right approach. "We are not guinea pigs."
He also raises the question that the invaders do not care and do not mourn his dead soldiers. "Putin throws his soldiers like logs in the train furnace and the invaders do not even bury them. Their bodies are left on the streets. "In many cities, small towns, soldiers tell us that it is impossible to breathe because of the stench of melting flesh," said Volodymyr Zelensky.
On the contrary, he emphasizes, the "fearless" Ukrainian soldiers could have left Mariupol a long time ago, but they remain to defend the city and bury its dead.
As for his own attitude, he comments: "It is not a matter of bravery. I have to act as I do. " He adds that he was not prepared for the role of hero and that one just has to be honest in order for others to trust him. "You do not have to try. You need to be yourself. And it's important that you do not show that you are better than you are. "