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Biden, Trump, vaccines, sanctions against China: Zelensky's key messages from his interview with Axios on HBO

Author : 112.ua News Agency

Source : 112 Ukraine

Jonathan Swan traveled to Kyiv for an exclusive interview with Ukrainian President Zelensky; we've gathered the key quotes
22:42, 1 February 2021

President Zelensky and Jonathan Swan
Open source

January 23, Jonathan Swan, a journalist for the Axios program, which runs on the HBO platform, had an interview with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. After just over a week, the interview - some excerpts - became available. And here's what we've managed to find.

US and January 6 coup

Open source

The spectacle of the siege on the Capitol left a deep impression on Zelensky and has caused him to rethink his assumptions about America. "I believe this was a strong blow to democracy of the United States," he said, speaking through an interpreter in an interview at his presidential office.

  • "We are used to believing that the United States has the ideal democratic institutions, where power is transferred calmly. ... In Ukraine, we lived through two revolutions ... we understood such things can happen in the world."
  • "But that it could happen in the United States? No one expected that ... I was very worried … I did not want you to have a coup."
  • "After something like this, I believe it would be very difficult for the world to see the United States as a symbol of democracy."

Related: New criminal proceedings opened against Poroshenko, Biden in Ukraine, - lawyer

Sanctions against China

Open source

Asked about emerging consensus in Washington that China is the No. 1 geopolitical threat, Zelensky said, "I cannot agree with that because in Ukraine we do not feel this."

  • "There really is this a sort of cold war between China and the United States."
  • "We know United States business is represented in Ukraine, but at the same time, it's true that Chinese business is also represented."
  • "I believe that regardless of the nation, the nationality, if people, if a business, if a certain country, treats you with respect, respecting your people and borders, they can be present in your country."

Vaccines

vaccine
Open source

Ukraine will negotiate with all countries that can supply the vaccine, president Zelensky assures. 

  • "There are several emotions about vaccination in the world. They may not all be pleasant, but I have to voice them. The fact that Ukraine is not an equal member of the European Union was clearly indicated by the vaccination terms. We are not a priority for the countries of the world that will receive the vaccine immediately."
  • "We have Sinovac—one of the Chinese vaccines. We have AstraZeneca. We have Moderna. I know it is more expensive, but Ukraine does not choose which is more expensive, but cheaper—we are choosing the term now. And, unfortunately, we are not in the first vaccination carriage. We are somewhere at the end, and I want Ukraine to be at least inside in terms of vaccine delivery time."

Related: Zelensky expects Biden’s invitation to meeting at White House

Ukraine's European integration

goloskarpat.info

  • "There are several emotions about vaccination in the world. They may not all be pleasant, but I have to voice them. The fact that Ukraine is not an equal member of the European Union was clearly indicated by the vaccination terms. We are not a priority for the countries of the world that will receive the vaccine immediately."

Relations with Trump

Mr. Trump pressured Mr. Zelensky to back investigations that would benefit him politically.
Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times

  • "When my name appeared on the pages of many media, I read that Trump put pressure on me. First, it was very offensive. Because I am the President of Ukraine. We are smaller than the USA, but we are an independent country! And we proved this to Russia as well, when we kept our independence. And we continue to prove it. Therefore, Trump did not pressure me, and I will never say that."
  • However, Zelensky added that when their conversation with Trump was published, things were not very clear. This was the first serious conversation between the two presidents, between strategic partners and, according to Zelensky, no one had the right to publish such things. "These are personal items. Sure, we do not belong to ourselves, because we are the presidents who were chosen by people. But I believe that this should not have happened. This is wrong, and this was the beginning of this whole case," he said, and when Zelensky was asked if he was angry with Trump, he answered "a little."

Related: Zelensky admits he is "little bit angry" with Trump

Budapest Memorandum and nuclear weapons

theriskyshift.com

  • "In general, I think this is a betrayal of Ukraine. I think this is a big mistake. After all, any world diplomatic agreements from the moment the Budapest Memorandum is not implemented are "multiplied by zero."
  • "If Ukraine had nuclear weapons, there would be no invasion and we would have our territories."
  • "I don't think it's right to do that today. Still, we shouldn't turn from humans to beasts."

Normandy four format

Normandy Four
telegraf

  • "I would like President Biden to be involved in the 'Normandy four format."
  • "When I came to the first meeting of the 'Normandy four format,' I didn't understand why Crimea was out of the agenda. All the partners said that Crimea was out of our agenda. And it was based on an agreement with the former president."

Crimea

Open source

  • "I'm sorry, if I were president then, we would all have died there, but we wouldn't have let the 'green men' in there."

Related: Duties and gas transit issues for Ukraine: Trump's policy more beneficial than Biden's?

US sanctions against Ukraine's MPs

Open source

Oleksandr Dubinsky, Ukrainian MP

Zelensky answered a question where sanctioned MPs would be subjected to the Ukrainian judiciary:

  • "It is necessary, of course. And it is not only about these very MPs. But also about all. I want a corresponding criminal case was opened."

Related: Ukraine to receive first batches of Covid-19 vaccines in two weeks, - Health Ministry

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