The Ukrainian president: “The scariest thing is that part of the world has become accustomed to war”
“No one believes in our victory like I do, no one.” So Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky does not hide, speaking to the American weekly Time, that he is tired of continuing to convince his allies that, with their help, Ukraine will be able to defeat Russia. An effort that “takes away all the energy, the strength, takes away so much of everything”, says the Ukrainian president who, 20 months after the start of the Russian invasion, has to deal with a fifth of the occupied Ukrainian territory, tens of thousands of civilians and soldiers killed.
But Zelensky fears above all the fact that the international mobilization in support of Kiev is becoming weaker: “The most frightening thing is that part of the world has become accustomed to the war in Ukraine – he states – the fatigue from the war is spreading like a ‘wave, we see it in the United States, in Europe.” A perception that has obviously increased significantly since the new dramatic conflict exploded in the Middle East.
Time conducted the interview after Zelensky’s visit to Washington, during which the Ukrainian president received a lukewarm reception from the Republican majority in the House who denied him the opportunity to speak to Congress. And sources in the Ukrainian presidency did not hide the “anger” of Zelensky, known for his optimism and his ability to lighten up even war cabinet meetings with a joke.
“Now he comes in, listens to the updates, gives orders and leaves”, reveal his collaborators, explaining that the Ukrainian president feels betrayed by his allies, left without the means to win the war.
This does not mean that he has changed his mind regarding his firm belief in final victory, an almost messianic belief: “he deludes himself, we are running out of options, we are not winning, but try to tell him so”, one of his close collaborators confesses to Time, explaining that the possibility of peace negotiations remains a taboo for Zelensky and also for the Ukrainian population.
Zelensky also says he is against a temporary truce: “For us this would mean leaving this wound open for future generations – he declared to Time – it would only postpone the explosion”. And he reiterates the danger that a Russian victory would not stop in Ukraine: “I have been living with this fear for some time – he states – a third world war could start in Ukraine, continue in Israel, and move to Asia and then explode somewhere else part”.