EXCLUSIVE: Zelensky says world must be prepared for possible Putin use of nuclear weapons


Zelensky told CNN’s Jake Taber in an exclusive interview from the president’s office in Kyiv on Friday that Putin might resort to nuclear or chemical weapons because he does not value the lives of the Ukrainian people.

“It’s not just me – all the world, all countries should be worried because it can’t be real information, but it can be fact,” Zelensky said, turning to English to emphasize his point.

“Chemical weapons, they should do, they can do, for them people’s lives, nothing. That’s why,” Zelensky said. “We should think not to be afraid, not to be afraid, but to be prepared. But this is not a question for Ukraine, not only for Ukraine but for the whole world, I think.”

In an extensive interview, Zelensky spoke about the sinking of a Russian ship, the losses inflicted on his army, and the emotional toll of the war on him and his people.

Zelensky remained in Ukraine throughout the 50-day war with Russia, as Ukrainian forces resisted the Kremlin’s attempts to seize Kyiv and forced Russia to refocus its war efforts on the eastern and southern regions of the country, with Ukraine expecting a significant escalation in the fighting in the coming days. At the same time, Russia launches cruise missiles on the outskirts of Kyiv and still retains the ability to target the Ukrainian capital with long-range weapons.

US officials have warned that Putin, if put into a corner, could turn to the use of tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine. CIA Director Bill Burns said Thursday that the CIA is watching “with keen interest” the possibility, while stressing that the United States has yet to see any indications that Russia is preparing to take such a step.

“Given the potential desperation of President Putin and the Russian leadership, given the setbacks they have faced militarily so far, none of us can take lightly the threat posed by a possible resort to tactical or low-yield nuclear weapons.” He said in public remarks at Georgia Tech.

One of Russia’s most important naval warships sank in the Black Sea this week, which Ukraine said was the result of a missile strike, while Russia claimed it was due to a fire caused by an exploding munition.

A senior US defense official said, on Friday, that two Ukrainian Neptune missiles hit the Moskva, and a US official said that the strike and the subsequent sinking of the ship was the result of a Ukrainian missile. However, Zelensky was cautious about whether Ukraine played a role.

“We know it no longer exists. For us, it is a powerful weapon against our country, so its sinking is not a tragedy for us. I want you to realize that. The Russian Federation that attacked our country the better for us. The less capable. This is important.”

Zelensky said Ukrainian officials believe that between 2,500 and 3,000 Ukrainian soldiers died in the war, comparing the figure to what he described as Russian casualties from 19,000 to 20,000 (Russia acknowledged 1,351 military deaths). Zelensky added that about 10,000 Ukrainian soldiers were wounded and that “it is difficult to say how many will survive.”

It is more difficult to determine the number of civilian casualties, he said.

“It is very difficult to talk about civilians, because in the south of our country, where towns and cities are banned – Kherson, Berdyansk, Mariupol to the east, and the area to the east where Volnovaka is located – we do not know how many people died in that exclusion zone,” Zelensky said. “.

Asked about the horrific videos released this week showing death and destruction in his country, including a Ukrainian woman finding her son’s body in a well, Zelensky said, “It’s a great pain for me.”

“I can’t see her as a father,” he said, “just because all she wants after that is revenge and murder.” “I have to watch as the head of state where so many people have died and lost loved ones, and there are millions of people who want to live.”

“We all want to fight,” he said. “But we must all do our best so that this war is not endless. The longer it goes on, the more we will lose. All these losses will be like those.”


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