“Ukraine needs to grow up — we may find ourselves alone.” The main points of Volodymyr Zelenskyʼs interview with TV presenter Nataliia Moseychuk

Oksana Kovalenko
Kateryna Kobernyk
“Ukraine needs to grow up — we may find ourselves alone.” The main points of Volodymyr Zelenskyʼs interview with TV presenter Nataliia Moseychuk

On the evening of August 27, the "1+1" channel aired an interview of TV presenter Nataliia Moseichuk with President Volodymyr Zelensky. In it, he stated that he wanted to equate the corruption of officials with treason, talked about the chances of holding elections in Ukraine during the war and the non-military deoccupation of Crimea. We selected the main theses of this conversation.

About corruption

I challenged lawmakers to equate corruption with wartime treason. Parliament will receive proposals within a week. It will be a very serious tool so that [officials] donʼt even think [about bribes]. But these are not mass shootings and not Stalinism.

About elections

Elections are currently prohibited by law. I told Senator Lindsay Graham, if our parliamentarians are ready to change the legislation, and the USA is ready to give us five billion for the elections, because I cannot take such money from the budget and from the Ukrainian Armed Forces, letʼs take risks together. Elections must be legitimate — observers must be also in the trenches. We need the military to be able to vote, and people abroad as well. I donʼt want the authorities to be treated as if they are holding on to their seats. Personally I would like to hold elections.

About business inspections

The IMF, the European Commission and our other partners will have questions if we donʼt bring back business inspections. I have spoken to the business and we have decided that only one authority will have the right to inspect — we have to decide which one. We must be honest, we must pay taxes. It is dishonest to cover up your reluctance to pay taxes with the help of the Ukrainian Army.

About investments in military-tech

Now we are number one in the security direction. In October, we will hold a military-tech forum in Ukraine, leading companies will come here, and I think we will receive some important contracts.

About Ukrainian production of missiles

We produce various missiles — Neptun, Stugna, Corsairs. They began to build NATO-style artillery. This is still not enough for the front, but many times more than it used to be. We manufacture a large number of drones. Partners do not prohibit us from developing the defense industry.

About partners

It makes no sense to wet partners like kittens in mud. We would not have succeeded without the support of our partners. Adequate partners donʼt ask us why there is a slow counterattack, because they are adequate. But Ukraine needs to grow up and understand that at one point or another we may find ourselves alone, because one or another partner may break away due to internal processes, or even due to elections in their country. But there is a substantial number of countries that will be with us until the end.

About the possibility of the war moving to the territory of Russia

It is a big risk that we will be left alone [by our foreign partners].

About security guarantees from other countries

These agreements have both a "shield" and a "sword". There should be sanctions, weapons, finances and planes in case of repeated aggression. These are security guarantees between partners on Ukraineʼs path to NATO.

About the de-occupation of Crimea by political methods

If we are getting to the administrative border with Crimea, it is possible to politically push for the demilitarization of Russia on the territory of Ukrainian Crimea. I think it would be better: less victims.

About the preparation of the visit of the President of Turkey Erdogan to Ukraine

It was a good conversation with the team of the Minister of Foreign Affairs [Dmytro Kuleba], who brought some personal messages from President Erdoğan. I am waiting for his arrival. They will discuss dates as a team.

About property looted by oligarchs

Where possible, Ukraine will return what the oligarchs illegally took during the redistribution of capital. Where it is impossible, it is a matter of time. For example, energy independence. We are thinking about getting through the winter so that the soldiers at the front do not have to worry about whether their families have light, heat and water. Therefore, some energy facilities should return to the state so that there are no risks.

About the telethon, which gave hope for a quick victory

Is it easier for a person who has never run to run 100 meters or a marathon? Of course, 100 meters. And a person can set a record in the 100-meter race. We would have lost this war if people did not believe they could win. I am grateful to the telethon and the journalists.

Translated from Ukrainian by Anton Semyzhenko.