President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky held press marathon on the occasion of the halfway mark of his presidential term. The event was announced just a day ahead, and only 30 journalists of President's Office choice were invited. Despite the limited number of media representatives, communication dragged on, and instead of three hours, the marathon lasted five.
We have collected for you the main theses from the president's answers at the press conference:
1. Will there be a war with Russia?
Journalists have repeatedly returned to the possibility of Russian invasion, martial law and Western aid. Here is what the president replied:
- "Probability (of a large-scale resumption of hostilities, - ed.) exists every day, but I believe that there is intimidation on the big media platforms that there will be a war," Zelensky stated.
- Ukraine and the Ukrainian Armed Forced are ready for such development.
- Zelensky commented on Oleg Lyashko's statement that martial law would be introduced in Ukraine from December 1:
"Why is he doing this? What martial law? Does he understand what is happening with the markets? The Ministry of Finance enters international markets to raise funds. There are no funds. Investors are afraid. Why? Because "there will be a martal law." The price of shares of Ukraine is falling due to the fact that the media say: "energy crisis, there will be a maidan, there will be martial law," Zelensky denied information about plans to impose martial law.
- Negotiations on a meeting with representatives of the Russian authorities are ongoing.
"Putin must go publicly say that the Russian Federation does not plan and is not preparing a full-scale invasion of Ukraine...That would be a necessary and important signal now," Zelensky declared.
- About real possibilities of the real NATO support: "not only publicly, but also non-publicly I received signals of guarantees of support for Ukraine from its Western partners - Britain, Canada, the EU, the United States, Turkey, etc. " He denied allegations that fighter jets could be provided to Ukraine but added that work was underway to help with other equipment.
Zelensky told about the special operation of the Ukrainian special services to detain soldiers of the Russian Wagner military unit:
- Zelensky said that he did not approve an operation, and Andriy Yermak could not postpone it - This operation was rather a personal initiative of the former head of intelligence Vasyl Burba. The president summed up that he was ashamed "for such intelligence."
- Ukraine did not organize operation on Wagner fighters, it was dragged in it.
- He criticized Burba, who organized the operation, calling him a dishonest man who wanted to cause a quarrel between Ukraine, the United States and Turkey.
- said that Burba lived near him at the dacha and repaired his for 11 million ( $406,027).
- President was talking about Burba's attempt to steal the vaccines.
3. Akhmetov is involved in a coup with Russia
Zelensky stated that Rinat Akhmetov might be involved in preparation of a coup with Russia's participation. President also mentioned Akhmetov in the context of the Russian invasion.
"We have not only intelligence information, but also audio information, where representatives from Ukraine and Russia discuss Rinat Akhmetov's participation in the coup in Ukraine where a billion dollars will be used... he is being involved in the war against the state of Ukraine"the president said.
- "Akhmetov himself is not preparing a coup d'etat," but he is getting dragged in this "by some representatives of the Russian Federation and some comrades from Ukraine."
- Akhmetov's voice is not on these recordings.
- "I am not Yanukovych, I will not run anywhere. And I am not Poroshenko to climb on the death of the Heavenly Hundred, on the bulldozer..."
- "the media war with the president against the law on de-oligarchization continues":
"It's not a secret. We understand this reaction. This is the reaction of Renat Akhmetov personally. He must understand that we have a country called Ukraine, not a country called DTEK, so he has no keys to the state. "the head of the state said.
4. "I do not close TV channels, as it is done in some countries"
Zelensky spoke about relations with Akhmetov and the statement that the intelligence received information about the coup:
"There is no increase in rates, I said I will not spread information for which I have no right. I believe this is the reputation of our state ... Akhmetov's media policy has entered a not very healthy phase, they have no right to misinform our population, but I do not close the channels, as it is done in some countries, his entourage drags him into war, not against me, but against the people... They went overboard there. "
Asked by a journalist whether this was a threat to Akhmetov, he replied that he "does not threaten anyone and can only protect."
- Zelensky has not yet decided whether he is goikng on a second term:
"I did not make this decision yet, it will be decided by society, it will be not be related to the format of the future coalition, but to the level of support for me personally.".
Zelensky takes into account the views of family and children.
- MPs can appeal to the Constitutional Court of Ukraine to interpret the possibility to change the sequence of presidential and parliamentary election.
- Is it possible to hold the next presidential election online?:
"We are working on it, but we don't know when and how it can happen"- Zelensky declared, having specified that Ukraine cooperates with Apple and Microsoft.
- Zelensky is satisfied with the results of his team's work
Zelensky named several ministers whose activities he is satisfied with:
- Minister of Economy and First Deputy Prime Minister Yulia Svyrydenko,
- Minister of Infrastructure Oleksandr Kubrakov,
- Minister of Health Viktor Lyashko.
He also praised the head of the Chair of OP Andriy Yermak and said that he was not considering his dismissal because of all the scandals.
7. Assessment of the presidency
"I am pleased with the results that have been made ... We promised to fight the oligarchs - and we are fighting," he added.
At the same time, Zelensky acknowledged that some processes are slower than he expected - in particular, a number of military cooperation programs. He acknowledged that there are people from Yanukovych times, but they are not his allies.
Zelensky called his mistake a lack of activity in the agreements with Russia.
8. How the National Security and Defense Council makes decisions
In response to the journalist's question about whether the sanctions of National Security and Defense Council against the citizens of Ukraine grounded, Zelensky answered: "Do you consider them people?
According to the president, he is pleased that the National Security and Defense Council managed to turn into a "powerful body."
"The fact that no one has done it before (sanctions, ed.) - look for your content and answers... we are defending our state how we can. I think that someone believes that it is outside of the law, let it be the opinions, and let the courts decide this issue".
9. Scandal with holiday in the Carpathians and helicopters
Zelensky was asked about the investigation into the celebration of Yermak's birthday, where guests were allegedly taken by helicopter of the Emergency Situation Service.
Yermak allegedly refused to celebrate his 50th anniversary, "because tomorrow people will say - while there is an official laying of flowers, someone is celebrating something." Zelensky complained that because of journalists, he has no privacy and his family cannot rest in Kyiv.