Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, seasoned by the ongoing conflict with Russia, has downplayed numerous Russian attempts to assassinate him, comparing them to the challenges posed by a bout of COVID. Zelensky, in an exclusive interview, disclosed that Ukraine’s resolve to counter Vladimir Putin’s Russia remains unwavering, asserting, “in the morale, there is no stalemate.”
Despite weariness from constant airstrikes, shelling, and the destruction of homes, he said, the Ukrainian people remain steadfast in their commitment to resist Russian aggression.
Speaking from his fortified Kyiv headquarters, Zelensky acknowledged losing count of the attempts on his life since Russia initiated a full-scale invasion on February 24 the previous year.
The leader said at least “five or six” plots to kill him had been foiled by Ukraine’s intelligence services.
He likened the initial attempt to the novelty of the first encounter with COVID, gradually becoming a routine intelligence update about new groups attempting harm. The first day of Putin’s invasion saw Russian special forces parachuting into Kyiv, prompting makeshift defenses and arming Zelensky and his aides. Rejecting evacuation offers, he famously declared, “I need ammo, not a ride,” exemplifying his determination to stay and lead.
Nearly two years later, Zelensky revealed that Russia remains fervently intent on removing him from power. He disclosed the code name of their latest operation, “Maidan 3,” aimed at changing the president, acknowledging that they might use various means to achieve their goal. Dismissing the possibility of holding elections due to martial law and the ongoing war, he emphasized the need for unity in the face of the Russian threat.
Despite setbacks in Ukraine’s counter-offensive this year, Zelensky, donning a trident-emblazoned sweatshirt, expressed determination to continue the fight. Acknowledging the skepticism of some allies, he recognized the importance of achieving more successful results on the battlefield. While denying claims of a stalemate by his top general, he highlighted the challenges in controlling the sky, where Russia holds more power.
The US Congress’s blockage of $60 billion in aid raised concerns about the war’s duration, with some Republicans fearing a “forever war.” Undeterred, Zelensky affirmed his commitment to continue the fight, emphasizing the war’s reality compared to fictional portrayals. Despite land-based challenges, he pointed to successes in the Black Sea, where missile and drone strikes forced a withdrawal of the Russian Black Sea fleet, allowing Ukraine to establish a crucial grain export corridor.
Addressing weariness among the population, Zelensky stressed that Ukraine does not believe in Putin’s desire for a peaceful resolution. He asserted the need for a just peace and rejected hasty diplomatic engagements with Russia, emphasizing the importance of justice in resolving the conflict.