Donbass, Macron, Le Pen… What to remember from Zelensky’s interview on BFMTV

Volodymyr Zelensky gave an exceptional interview to Ulysse Gosset and Yves Calvi for BFMTV. In this long interview broadcast this Wednesday, the Ukrainian president evokes the atrocities experienced by his population since the end of February, the ongoing offensive in the Donbass but also his relations with Emmanuel Macron or Marine Le Pen.

On the 56th day of the war, fighting escalated in eastern Ukraine, where Moscow focused on the Donbass region, which it considers to belong to it.

Siege of the city of Mariupol, diplomatic relations with France and Emmanuel Macron, Russian offensive in the Donbass, talks with Russia, discussions with Marine Le Pen… Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky gave a long interview to Yves Calvi and Ulysses Gosset for BFMTV, in which he evokes the dramatic situation facing his country since February 24.

“The war did not start on February 24 but 8 years ago”

During this interview, Volodymyr Zelensky said he considered that the Russian-Ukrainian war did not start on February 24 but “8 years ago”, when Russia decided to annex Crimea.

“I would like the whole world to understand that the war started 8 years ago, in 2014 or 2015. February 24th was ‘only’ the beginning of Russia’s intrusion into our territory in large scale”, wants to rectify the Head of State.

Ukraine ‘not afraid of May 9 date’

“You know, we are not afraid of May 9,” the Ukrainian president also told our reporters, referring to the date on which Russia could declare its “so-called military victory”.

“It is understood that the leaders of the Russian Federation are very fond of symbols,” notes Volodymyr Zelensky, before comparing (without naming him) Putin’s regime to Nazi Germany: “It reminds me of some other leaders of other states who were very attached to numerology, to symbols. But you should know that for us in Ukraine, May 9 is also a holiday, a celebration of victory during the Second World War.

Zelensky fears that Russia has not mobilized all its means in the Donbass

The Ukrainian president says he understands that Russia “has not yet mobilized all its means” in Ukraine. “Today I am not able to say that the full-scale offensive is launched in the Donbass”, warns the president.

According to him, the Russians “are moving forward and they are leaving nothing behind”. “They don’t occupy these cities because there is nothing left to occupy: no more buildings, no more people. (…) You have to understand what is happening in the Donbass: they are taking small villages like Volnovakha and they destroy everything, all the houses, not a single person survives. There is no survivor among those who could not flee. Volnovakha was simply wiped off the map.”

“It’s a big threat, there are reasons to be worried,” he admits. “But we will be ready to retaliate,” he said. “We never wanted to take other people’s lands but we are ready to defend our lands/”

Zelensky invites Macron to come and see “genocide”

Asked about his relations with Emmanuel Macron, Volodymyr Zelensky evokes “good relations” with the French president. They “have improved and have become warmer”, continues the Ukrainian head of state, who speaks regularly by telephone with his French counterpart.

Three days before the second round of the presidential election, Volodymyr Zelensky says he does not want to lose this link with Emmanuel Macron. On the war in Ukraine, “I think he is in a very difficult situation because a lot of business was directed towards Russia, and it is known that the Russian elites came to rest in France… in Nice, in Cannes they have villas, yachts on the coast”.

“We understand the weight of the money of the Russian oligarchs on the French economy. I understand that the internal pressure must be quite significant, but President Macron must choose between money and the fight for freedom and human rights. Man”, further advances Zelensky, before “inviting him to go to Ukraine to come and see the genocide” in progress in his country.

Macron-Putin talks led to ‘no results’

However, the President of Ukraine believes that it is “very difficult” for him to judge whether Emmanuel Macron should continue to meet regularly with President Vladimir Putin, as he has done since the start of the conflict.

“It is difficult for me to answer after what Ukraine has seen in front of the eyes of the whole world. I think that Macron understands that the hope of dialogue with Putin is called into question, in particular because there is no there was no result from this dialogue”, unlike what happened in Normandy in 2019. “Of course the result was not 100% effective, but there were contacts, a cease-and-desist regime. fire. But you know that water has flowed under the bridge since then”.

“Officially, the Ukrainian delegation is still talking with Russia. But with each passing day, after each Boutcha or Mariupol, the faith that these talks will succeed is dwindling,” he adds.

· Discuss with Marine Le Pen in the event of an election? “Everything depends”

When asked if he would be ready to discuss with Marine Le Pen if she is elected on Sunday, Volodymyr Zelensky kicks in touch: “It all depends, it does not depend on his status but first of all on his principles, I would not say not even his rhetoric”.

“If she understands and recognizes that she was wrong, our situation could change,” said the Ukrainian president, acknowledging that he would prefer not to “lose his good relations” with President Macron.

“We saw how the French took to the streets to support the Ukrainian people, before saying: “I respect the history of France and your people enormously. We cannot speak against France.”

Mariupol city 95% destroyed, Zelensky accuses Russia of ‘terrorism’

Asked about the situation in Mariupol, a city in southeastern Ukraine that has been under siege for almost two months, Voldymyr Zelensky described a catastrophic situation: “The soldiers are not the only ones to be hostages, but the civilians are also blocked: children, the elderly… It is not even war anymore, but rather a terrorist action on the part of the Russian Federation.”

“Everything has been destroyed, 95% of all buildings have been destroyed, including schools and kindergartens, living quarters. You must understand that they continue to bombard the 4-5% of life that “He stays, they shoot everywhere. That’s why people are just afraid to go out.”

During this interview, the Ukrainian president also accuses Russia of detaining Ukrainians who have fled to territories it controls in “special camps”. “All the people who went to territories controlled by the Russians have disappeared,” laments Volodymyr Zelensky. “You should know that all these people have disappeared, including several children who went in this direction. They are in special camps on Russian territory. It is a great tragedy.”

Jeanne Bulant BFMTV journalist

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Donbass, Macron, Le Pen… What to remember from Zelensky’s interview on BFMTV

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