President of Ukraine: Mariupol is the heart of the war, which allows us to hold our positions in the east of the country
Thanks to Ukrainian defenders in the city of Mariupol in the Donetsk region, Ukraine today holds a strong position in the east and has a more confident position in negotiations with the Russian Federation. This was stated by President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky in an interview for the Associated Press.
"Mariupol is the heart of this war today. It beats, we fight, we are strong. If it stops beating, we will have weaker positions. These are people (defenders of Mariupol - ed.) who have made a large number of enemy troops to focus on them. The stronger our position in Mariupol, the stronger our position in the east of the country. And our positions will be stronger in the JFO area," he said.
Volodymyr Zelensky stressed that this situation creates advantages for Ukraine in the negotiation process with the Russian Federation.
"If we have a weak situation in all these areas, probably there will be no meeting, because Russia will take all the steps that could lead to a return to even those places that we have now de-occupied. They can go for it. And then our situation in the negotiations will be weaker and, perhaps, even uninteresting for the Russian side," the President said.
The Head of State is convinced that Ukrainian citizens will accept peace, because they want the war to end on the terms of Ukraine.
"I am convinced that there are people who have lost something - every family has lost something. There are people who have lost children, and I do not think that they will be satisfied with any peace on any terms at any time. Because it is a great wound and a great tragedy - to lose loved ones. But if we are not speaking emotionally, although it is difficult, we must understand that any war must end in peace or end in millions of casualties. And still, even when there are millions of casualties, everything comes to peace, to the end of the war," Volodymyr Zelensky stressed.
The President noted that in the current conditions it is necessary to fight for people's lives, so it is very important to stop this war.
"It's emotionally difficult. No one wants to negotiate with those who tortured this people," the Head of State said, but added that the possibility of ending the war through diplomatic decisions must not be lost.
The President emphasized: "We cannot afford to decide for the millions of people who want to stop the war and say: “No, we are not ready to talk because they are murderers".
According to the President, if Ukraine was a member of NATO, this war could have been avoided or at least its scenario could have been changed.
"We would have the shoulder of close neighbors, powerful neighbors. We could fight together. And we are sure that there would be no war after all," the President said.
Volodymyr Zelensky noted that the West was late in providing Ukraine with some types of weapons that could have been transferred before the death of a large number of Ukrainians, for example in Mariupol.
At the same time, according to him, some European leaders have already changed their minds and now support the supply of weapons to our country.
"I really notice it. Some European leaders have changed their position. But you see the price of these changes," the President summed up.