Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky has been answering the questions from the journalists in the frameworks of press marathon since 10 a.m at Kyiv Food Market on October 10. The press marathon will continue until the evening. According to the press secretary of the president Julia Mendel, it will last at least 10 hours.
This is what he already said.
About Donbas conflict
“I was elected president, I want to remind you which Zelensky was elected by society. The president which would end the war. That is why such Zelensky remains. And I will always remain such a person. How will we stop this? We will be discussing the plans on how we can do this. However, my main goal is my mainline. I am this kind of person. I am saying that I want to end this war and I think that is my mission for these five years,” Zelensky said.
According to him, the main mistake of Ukraine was that the authorities could not help the internally displaced persons and they returned back.
“I think our main mistake was when a lot of people came from the temporarily occupied part of the country. People came here to us and we as the authorities, not ordinary people, but us, the authorities did not provide them with housing, workplaces and help. As the authorities, we did not provide many people properly, and many of them left and returned simply seeking shelter. They are civilians and they never fought, they are normal living people,” he said.
According to the president, disengagement of forces and means in Stanytsia Luhanska and improvement of the situation in the territory controlled by Ukraine is the best method to win the information war in Donbas:
“What does the disengagement in Stanytsia Luhanska mean? What did happen? Firstly, we have to do it. I mean to provide the normal checkpoint. Secondly, the most important, it the coolest information means until we are not shown there or showed in a bad light. It is the most advantageous form when you are setting an example: see we have opened the checkpoint, see what we have done, there are buses from our side, people travel, we help, we have constructed the bridge."
Zelensky acknowledged that his team had failed in terms of communications and did not communicate enough with the public about Steinmeier formula:
“Why is Mr. Proshenko against disengagement? He felt that the Steinmeier formula is the key and it goes in one, let's say, case discussed on the streets - the Steinmeier formula and disengagement. Because in terms of communication, I think our team has lost. We really did not communicate with people and this is true. And it is a mistake, but in our other steps on protection of the interests of our country, there was no mistake,” he said.
Steinmeier formula implementation is a step to Normandy Format talks, according to Zelensky:
“Somebody does not want the disengagement, somebody is afraid of it; earlier we had decommunization and now we have decommunication. It is true. But everyone who talks about Steinmeier formula understands that is the mean; as you know, the temporarily acting law on the status of Donbas will turn from the temporary to permanent and it should be implemented in the law on the special status. In other words, there is no law on the special status yet; there is nothing to talk about, no formula. But it is one of the steps, which brings us to the possibility of holding Normandy Format meeting.”
Zelensky said if Steinmeier formula failed, Ukraine would seek other options to solve Donbas conflict:
"If I feel there's no dialogue, there will be no deal. I'll say this in an open during the Normandy format session. If I feel that everybody is ready to do something to stop the war, we will be doing this; we will discuss the format of disengagement of forces and so on."
“Yesterday I met the veterans and the will tell you, everyone was here, the National Corps, Azov and others. I explained them, 90-99% of people with whom I met yesterday, they say: “Why don’t you communicate, why don’t you explain us everything?”. I told them: “Guys, we are sitting together now, imagine what you offer me. I should come and how should I communicate with Russia? And so on. You want it to be a poker when they know my playing cards? When we sit at the same table. For what should I prepare? Do I have to need some strategy? Or you want everyone to know where our troops are located, when we go, where we disengage, when we attack? How can I reveal this information?”
He also stated that the format of conversation with Putin is aimed at achievement of results:
"As for Mr. Putin, I choose such a format of the conversation with the President of the Russian Federation that would allow to achieve the results,"
About the phone call with President Trump
Volodymyr Zelensky said that during the phone talk with U.S. President Donald Trump he would like to “drag him into” Ukraine:
“That is why this phone call influenced only one thing: we need to get a meeting, we have to meet with the president, I want to show him our team, our young team. I wanted to drag him into Ukraine,"
Zelensky said he would defend Ukraine on PrivatBank:
"In the PrivatBank case, I will defend our country, the interests of the state of Ukraine. To be honest, I have not ever called any of the judges in my life, no one. I talked to them, but not in the way of a telephone conversation, even though I, as a person, have a lot of questions for our court, but I have no right to influence," Zelensky said.
President Zelensky once again state he was ready to leave his office if the people want him to do so. He assured that there would be no bloodshed in case of an organization of mass actions, which, according to him, the fifth president of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko is pushing.
"There is only one mistake Poroshenko makes: he thinks that he may be the leader of another Maidan. And he is ready, you have seen the same statement from President Steinmeier himself, the German side, the French side, and many European media, they are shocked. Therefore, his rhetoric is changing, just as his status has changed, but the only thing that he forgets is that he is no longer the president. Well, not even that he forgets. I am afraid that he does not believe it. I am afraid that there is a problem on the physical level, so he is against withdrawal, it seems to him that there may be another Maidan because of that. Moreover, he pushes people step by step, and he pushes people with his actions and his media resources," Zelensky said.
At the same time, the president said that he was ready for a dialogue with Ukrainians and promised to prevent collisions.
"About the whole Maidan and so on. I'm not afraid of anything. At any moment, at any second, if society does not want my team to continue, does not want me to be president, see, there will be no bloodshed, I am very calm about this," Zelensky summed up.
The media reported that Zelensky was prepared for a press marathon.
"We can also say from our own sources that Volodymyr Zelensky has been prepared for this press marathon. In particular, the attention was brought to the questions about Steinmeier formula, Ihor Kolomoisky, and the connection with him. We are about to see how, in fact, they have prepared him, probably already during the conference," the correspondent stated.