Zelensky calls for 'world' to 'strike' Kremlin
The world should make it clear to Russia that it would have to face an immediate military response if it decides to use nuclear arms against Kiev, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky told the broadcasters CBC and CTV in an interview this week. The Ukrainian leader accused Russia of using “terrorist” blackmail tactics, and said Moscow only understands the language of force.
Zelensky accused Moscow of repeatedly threatening to strike “decision-making centers” in Ukraine, including with nuclear arms, and said the world should respond if such a strike does take place. “It does not matter if Ukraine is a NATO member or a non-NATO nation,” he said, adding that no one should be allowed to “blackmail [other nations] like a terrorist.”
According to the Ukrainian president, the world should tell the Russians: “If you strike Bankova Street [the Ukrainian President’s Office], there will be a strike at where you are.”
If Moscow does strike Kiev, there should be “a strike at the decision-making centers” in Russia the next “second,” regardless of the results of the Russian attack, he added. Such a stance would not be blackmail, but a form of self-defense that would supposedly prevent those issuing threats from following through on their plans, Zelensky argued.
“One can talk about humanism for a long time,” the Ukrainian president told journalists, adding that his nation lives in a situation where it has a “neighbor that does not understand anything but force.”
The Ukrainian president also blamed the Russian public for what is happening in Ukraine.
“The society of the Russian Federation must know that they attack our [Ukrainian] society,” he said, adding that Russians “support a terrorist authority.” If the Russian people “do not exert pressure” on President Vladimir Putin, “the world will isolate itself from you,” Zelensky warned, adding that nobody is willing to talk to Russia as it only speaks “the language of threats.”
The Ukrainian president also said that the world must itself decide who to talk to in Russia since “they are terrorists now. All of them.”
It is not the first time the Ukrainian leader has made such appeals. Earlier, he called on NATO to carry out preventive strikes on Russia to deter the use of nuclear weapons. At that time, his words sparked an angry reaction from Moscow, which accused Zelensky of trying to spark a third world war.
The Ukrainian president then walked back his statement, claiming it was mistranslated and that he really meant to say preemptive sanctions, not “preemptive strikes.”
Back in September, Putin said Russia would defend its territory using all means available and would do “everything to ensure the security of its people.” At the same time, he also said Moscow was ready for talks with Kiev and called on Ukraine to “to cease all hostilities” and return to the negotiating table.
He made his remarks at a ceremony for the signing of treaties on the inclusion of the Lugansk and Donetsk People’s Republics (LPR and DPR), as well as the regions of Kherson and Zaporozhye, which declared independence from Ukraine, into Russia. Moscow then said that the status of the four regions, which formally joined Russia a week later, is not to be negotiated as part of any potential talks with Ukraine.