None of those who invited me believed that we would survive

The US newspaper Washington Post on Thursday published a new chapter in a series devoted to the war in Ukraine, in which it reconstructs the country’s reaction in the first days of the Russian invasion.

The article, the result of interviews with more than a hundred Ukrainian officers, military and civilians, shows how the Ukrainian army and thousands of volunteers confronted the Russian army, which calculated that it would capture Kyiv in three days.

A special episode was the phone conversation on the morning of February 24 between the head of the Ukrainian presidential administration, Andrei Yermak, and the deputy head of the Kremlin, Dmitri Kozak. Hours after the invasion began, a Russian official asked Yermak to surrender the Ukrainian army and declare the president’s defeat.

The Washington Post wrote of the Ukrainian official’s immediate reaction, “Yermak swore at the Cossack and hanged him”.

Another chapter of the article deals with demands by senior Ukrainian officials that President Volodymyr Zelensky leave Kyiv to protect himself from the Russians. The calls multiplied, at which point Zelensky burst out and gave them the following message:

“That’s the last I’ll ever hear. I don’t want to hear anything like that again. I am alive. I don’t want to die like the other man. But if I think about it, I know I’m already dead.”

In the same article, Zelensky reported to the Washington Post how the first talks with US leaders went; Britain and other countries: “None of those who invited me believed that we would survive. Not because they don’t believe in Ukraine, but because of the demonization of the head of the Russian Federation – his power, his philosophy, the way he promoted the power of the Russian military. So [au crezut]With all due respect to the Ukrainians: they won’t, they’ll be over in two or three days, maybe five, and then it’s all over.”

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“For the Russian Federation, we were like an appendage that needed to be removed, but they did not understand the situation properly. They thought we were an appendage, but we have become the heart of Europe,” Zelensky said. “We created this heartbeat.”

Read the full Washington Post article published by Stars&Stripes here

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