Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a CNN interview that he not only wants President Joe Biden to visit Ukraine to witness the destruction caused by invading Russian forces, but that he believes Biden “will” personally make his way to Kyiv soon.
Speaking to CNN anchor Jake Tapper in a conversation that aired on Sunday morning, the Ukrainian leader also declared that Ukraine will not give up any eastern territory to Russia as a condition to end the war, adding that the country is prepared to fight the Russian military to keep Donbas.
“This is why it is very important for us to not allow them, to stand our ground, because this battle… it can influence the course of the whole war,” Zelensky stated, noting that Ukraine cannot trust that Moscow wouldn't once again try to capture Kyiv if it successfully takes over Donbas.
With Russia’s unprovoked war now over 50 days old, the Ukrainian president expressed gratitude for the amount of military aid and assistance that the United States has provided his country. At the same time, while saying he was happy at the additional funding Biden approved last week, Zelensky said “we need more” and “it needs to come fast.”
He further took swipes at what he felt was empty rhetoric coming from other world leaders, taking issue with the fact that few other countries have offered money or weaponry to aid in the war effort.
“I don’t believe the world, after we’ve seen what’s going on in Ukraine,” Zelensky said. “I don’t believe in this feeling that we should believe, some countries or some leaders. We don’t believe the words. After the escalation of Russia, we don’t believe our neighbors.”
Zelensky then explained that he recently told French President Emmanuel Macron, who has been engaging Russian President Vladimir Putin in diplomatic talks, that he needs to come to Ukraine to witness first-hand the atrocities committed by Russian forces.
“Do you want President Biden to come here?” Tapper asked.
“Yes,” Zelensky responded.
“Are there any plans for him to come?” the State of the Union host pressed.
“I think he will,” the Ukrainian leader answered.
“You think he will?” Tapper wondered.
“I think he will,” Zelensky affirmed. “But it’s his decision, of course, and about the safety situation, it depends. But I think he’s the leader of the United States, and that’s why he should come here to see.”
Following British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s surprise visit to Kyiv last weekend, which featured Johnson and Zelensky walking the streets of the Ukrainian capital together, Biden seemingly expressed a desire to personally visit Ukraine himself.
The administration, meanwhile, is reportedly having discussions on sending a high-ranking official to Kyiv. And while Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are unlikely to make the trip at this point, the White House is considering Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin or Secretary of State Antony Blinken to pay a visit.