But he and other leaders stressed that Russia should not retain control of the territories it captured during the hostilities. Although Russian forces failed to capture the capital, Kyiv, and the northeastern city of Kharkiv, they did capture the cities of Kherson and Mariupol in southern and southeastern Ukraine.
Bloody fighting continues in eastern Ukraine, which the United States believes is part of Moscow’s strategy to annex large swathes of the country and install pro-Russian leaders in a move that repeats Ukraine’s 2014 annexation of Crimea.
“We want to return everything, and Russia does not want to return anything,” Zelensky said in the interview. “And that’s what it will be in the end.”
His comments come as Russian The invasion falters Military commanders are reforming their strategy by shooting leaders and relying increasingly on artillery and long-range weapons after losing thousands of troops.
Even as analysts and experts see Russian President Vladimir Putin’s long-term goals as unsustainable, the invasion continues to inflict losses on Ukraine, particularly in the eastern Donbass and Luhansk regions, where Russian forces are concentrated.
On Sunday, Zelensky said that up to 100 soldiers are being killed a day in the hard-hit eastern region.
The southern port city of Severodonetsk – one of the last major cities in the eastern Luhansk province still under Kyiv’s control – has emerged as the latest flashpoint in the hostilities.
Regional authorities urged the thousands remaining in the city of 100,000 to flee as heavy bombardment continued and after Russian forces on Saturday destroyed a bridge used for evacuations and aid deliveries.
Serhiy Heidi, Governor of the Luhansk Region, “If they destroy another bridge, the city will be completely isolated, unfortunately,” he said.
Lyudmila Denisova, the Ombudsman for Human Rights of Ukraine, warned in a post on the Telegram messaging app that Severodonetsk has become “New MariupolAnother southern coastal city is now in ruins, with civilians cut off from basic necessities after months of bombardment.
Russia asserts that Mariupol is fully under its control after Ukraine last week He finished his defense From a steel mill where civilians and fighters holed up for weeks.
The mayor of Mariupol, where the plant is located, warned that the city was “on the verge of an outbreak of infectious diseases” due to the war.
Many city dwellers do not have access to working water or sewage systems, Vadim Boychenko She said In a message published Saturday on Telegram, summer rains are likely to spread diseases from shallow graves hastily dug into the water supply.
Zelensky hoped for the fate of hundreds of Ukrainian troops at the plant, which raised the possibility of future talks with Russia.
“I said during the bombing that if they destroyed the people of Azovstal, there would be no discussions with Russia. We saw today that they found a way to allow these people to live,” Zelensky said. The interview aired on Saturday.
“Time changes things,” he added. “There are different cases. It all depends on the time.”
In a surprise visit, Polish President Andrzej Duda on Sunday addressed the Verkhovna Rada in Kyiv, in the first personal appearance of a foreign leader since the war began. He renewed Poland’s support for Ukraine and called on Russia to withdraw.
“Only Ukraine has the right to decide its own future,” Duda said. Translation. “The international community must demand that Russia end its aggression and leave Ukraine entirely.”
Zelensky pledged to grant more rights to Polish citizens, after a new law in Poland granted rights to millions of Ukrainian citizens who have sought refuge in Poland since the Russian invasion on February 24.
“This is an unprecedented decision, according to which our citizens, who were forced to flee to Poland due to Russian aggression, will be given almost the same rights and opportunities as Polish citizens,” Zelensky said, according to a The text of the speech.
Meanwhile, the United States is stepping up its support for Ukraine after President Biden on Saturday Signed a $40 billion deal To provide new military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine.
Zelensky said more military aid to Ukraine would help the country reopen its ports and Reducing pressure on food prices around the world After the fighting he stopped exports of grain and other agricultural products.
Military and State Department officials are considering sending special forces to guard a newly reopened embassy in Kyiv, The Wall Street Journal reported, Sunday.
A US official confirmed the discussions but stressed that the idea was only preliminary.
“We are in close contact with our colleagues at the State Department about potential security requirements now that they have resumed operations at the embassy in Kyiv, but no decisions have been taken — and no specific proposals have been discussed — at the higher levels of the department,” said Pentagon spokesman John Kirby.
A delegation of US diplomats will be in The Hague from Sunday through Wednesday for talks with allies “regarding our responses to atrocities in Ukraine” and other conflicts, and about efforts “to bring the perpetrators of atrocities to justice.” The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a press release.
Ukrainian authorities have brought three captured Russian soldiers to trial for war crimes, and the Biden administration supports Ukraine’s attorney general’s steps to investigate Russia’s actions in the war.
Ukraine’s first lady, Olena Zelenska, in A rare joint appearance with her husband During a pre-recorded television interview, she detailed the outcome of the invasion to her family. She said she had hardly seen her husband since the war began and joked that the interview was like a “date” on TV.
“Our family was torn apart, like every other Ukrainian family,” Zelenska said, later responding to one of the interviews that her husband had taken away from her.
“No one takes my husband away from me, not even the war,” replied Zelenska.
Kristen Armario, John Hudson, Annabelle Chapman, Victoria Bisset, and Brian Beach contributed to this report.
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