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VIDEO

Zelenskyy to ERT: The War Will End When Ukraine Wins (Video)

ATHENS —The war in Ukraine is a threat to peace in Eastern Europe and the entire world, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in an exclusive interview with the Greek state broadcaster ERT, in which he stressed that “the war will end when Ukraine wins”.

In the interview on Sunday evening, Zelenskyy also answered questions about a video aired during his address to the Hellenic Parliament and explained the position held by the Azov Battalion, which he stressed was now integrated into the Ukrainian armed forces.

The Ukrainian president pointed out that Russia had launched a full-scale assault and occupation of Ukrainian territory on February 24, violating its territorial integrity and conducting an illegal invasion, and that this war was still ongoing as Russia remained on Ukraine’s territory and was still putting pressure on Ukrainian forces. “Nothing is over yet,” he stressed.

Zelenskyy said that civilians that had taken refuge in the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol were afraid to come out “because they are being killed”, while noting that UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres had given him guarantees that non-combatants in Mariupol can be evacuated to Ukrainian territory.

“We are continuing to recommend the evacuation of our people. Some routes are operating,” he said, noting that this included the one proposed by the UN but that this evacuation was not for soldiers or the injured, as the UN only provided guarantees for the evacuation of civilians.

According to the Ukrainian president, a lot of people had been evacuated from Mariupol when the Russian side did not prevent this and the focus was now on evacuating those in the Azovstal plant, adding that “everything now depends on the Russian side” as the process remained difficult, in spite of the UN’s involvement, “because we do not trust the Russian Federation, because this trust is diminishing”.

Even when Guterres was in Ukraine to discuss the humanitarian mission to evacuate civilians, five missiles had struck in Kiyv, Zelenskyy pointed out.

He noted that the damage inflicted by the Russian invasion on homes and infrastructure exceeded 600 billion dollars, without even counting the occupied areas where the extent of the damage could not be calculated. He said this amount only concerned the losses of the state, while the losses of the private sector were estimated to exceed one trillion.

Regarding the Azov Battalion, he said this formed a part of the regular Ukrainian armed forces. He explained that a lot of information had emerged from the Russian side at the start of the war concerning volunteer groups and volunteer Ukrainian battalions. This harked back to 2014 when the Ukrainian army was not as strong as now and volunteers had banded together with the regular armed forces to protect the country. Many of these groups of private volunteers had made radical statements concerning the Russian Federation, which were their personal opinions as private citizens, he said.

There was a difference between these volunteers and the regular military forces of Ukraine, he pointed out, and the Azov Battalion was not currently a force comprised of volunteers but a part of the National Guard, which was part of the official Ukrainian army. While some of those that were volunteers had turned to politics, others made the decision to join the military and become a part of the Ukrainian armed forces, he said, noting that Mariupol was now being protected by professional soldiers of various kinds and not just the Azov Battalion.

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