by Adam Schrek and Mustylov Chernov | The Associated Press
KYIV, Ukraine — Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Saturday he was determined to press for peace despite Russian attacks on civilians that shocked the world, and that he sent more weapons to the country ahead of an expected surge in fighting. Renewed its petition to the countries for. east.
He made the remarks in an interview with the Associated Press a day after a strike at a train station in the eastern city of Kramatorsk killed at least 52 people, and evidence of civilian killings surfaced after Russian troops failed to seize it. Returns. The capital where he has bowed down, Kyiv.
“No one wants to interact with the person or people who oppressed this country. It all makes sense. And as a man, as a father, I understand this very well,” Zelensky he said. But “we don’t want to lose the opportunities, if we have them, for a diplomatic solution.”
Wearing the olive drab, which has marked his transformation into a wartime leader, he looked exhausted, yet still inspired by a campaign to persevere.
“We have to fight, but fight for life. You can’t fight with dust when there is nothing and there are no people. That’s why it’s important to stop this war.”
Russian troops withdrawing from northern Ukraine are now regrouping, in what is expected to be a swift push to retake the eastern Donbass region, including the besieged port city of Mariupol, which Ukrainians must protect. The fighters are trying.
Zelensky said he was confident Ukrainians would accept peace despite the horrors of the more than six-week-long war.
These included gruesome images of civilian bodies found in yards, parks and city squares and buried in mass graves in the Kyiv suburb of Bucha after Russian troops withdrew. The leaders of Ukraine and Western countries have accused Moscow of war crimes.
Russia falsely claimed that the scenes were staged in Buka. It also blamed Ukraine for the attack on the train station as thousands rushed to flee ahead of a possible Russian invasion.
Despite hopes for peace, Zelensky acknowledged he needs to be “realistic” about the prospects for a quick solution, noting that talks have so far been limited to low-level talks that do not involve Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Zelensky spoke to the AP inside the presidential office complex, where windows and hallways are guarded by sandbags and heavily armed soldiers.
When asked whether his country’s supplies of arms and other equipment from the United States and other Western nations were sufficient to turn the tide of the war, he displayed a clear sense of resignation and despair.
“Not now,” he said, switching to English for emphasis. “Of course it’s not enough.”
Still, he said support had grown from Europe and added that US arms deliveries were accelerating.
This week, neighboring Slovakia, a member of the European Union, donated Soviet-era S-300 air defense systems to Ukraine in response to Zelensky’s appeal to help Russia “lock the skies” with warplanes and missiles. Gave.
Some of that support has come through the visits of European leaders.
After meeting Zelensky in Quiv early Saturday, Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehmer said he expected more EU sanctions against Russia, even as he defended his country’s opposition to cutting Russian natural gas deliveries. have done
The US, European Union and the United Kingdom responded to Buka’s images with more sanctions, including targeting Putin’s adult daughters. While the EU went after the Russian energy sector by banning coal for the first time, it has so far failed to agree to cut the more lucrative oil and natural gas funding out of Putin’s war chest, but Europe has been able to generate electricity, fuel It is up to you to fill the tank and keep the industry churning.
Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson also made an unannounced visit to meet Zelensky, with his office saying they discussed Britain’s “long-term support”.
In Kyiv, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Friday presented Ukraine’s leader with a questionnaire, the first steps to apply for EU membership. The head of the block’s executive branch said the process of completing the questionnaire could take weeks – an unusually fast turnaround – although it would take longer to gain membership.
Zelensky introspected when asked how the speed of weapons delivery had an effect on his men and whether more lives could have been saved had help arrived sooner.
“Too often we look for answers in someone else, but I often look for answers in myself. Did we do enough to find them?” He said of weapons. “Did we do enough for these leaders to believe in us? Have we done enough?”
He stopped and shook his head.
“Are we the best for this place and this time? Who knows? I don’t know. You question yourself,” he said.
AP photographer Evgeny Maloletka contributed to this story.