Kay Burley sat down with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv for an exclusive Sky News interview.
In a wide-ranging discussion, everything from tanks, family, Vladimir Putin, Boris Johnson and the president’s birthday were covered.
Here are five key points from the interview.
Russia sends warning to US over tanks – Ukraine latest
The president explained that Russian tanks vastly outnumber the vehicles that Ukrainian forces have at their disposal.
Mr Zelenskyy, who learned of Germany’s decision to send Leopard 2 tanks during his Sky News interview, said he wanted to thank Europe and the US – but added that they couldn’t waste any time in getting them to the frontline.
He said: “We need 300 or 500 tanks now. That’s why I believe that we need tanks to carry out an offensive on our territory, on our land. We need armoured vehicles to protect our people, that’s all.
“I am very happy and I would like to thank Germany, thank Britain, and thank the United States that they made such decisions. Overall I am grateful to the world for their support of Ukraine.
“But if we are talking frankly and honestly with you, the number of tanks and delivery time are of crucial and critical importance, in comparison to the decision that has been made. We have approved cases of weapons to be sent to us, but we still haven’t received them.
“Sometimes the delivery of the weapons takes months, you understand? I don’t blame anyone, but, in response to your question, a sense of relief comes only after the weapons, which our partners give us, are already being used by our army.”
On fighting the Russians
Mr Zelenskyy explained he had no designs on taking territory in Russia, saying all he wanted was for Moscow’s forces to leave Ukraine.
He said: “We are not fighting on Russian territory, because we are not interested in it. We are just not interested in it.
“Because the war, wherever it is, means losing people. For me, people are the number one priority. That’s why I don’t want to fight on Russian territory.
“I just want them to stop the war as quickly as possible and leave our country as fast as possible.
“I can tell you for sure if they leave our territory the war will stop. That’s all.”
On peace talks with Putin
Mr Zelenskyy said that peace talks with Russia while Vladimir Putin is still president would be pointless.
He said: “You know, so far there are no peace talks with Russia … because we don’t know who we should negotiate with, and about what. What kind of peace talks?
“At present, these are just criminals who came here and were killing and raping. That’s what they have been doing.
“They don’t want any talks, and this was the case before the invasion. President Putin decided so. I am convinced that Ukraine is just the first step for him. I am convinced that he is waging a big war.
“And having the whole world helping Ukraine now – he is not thinking about that. He is thinking ‘Well, it’s not working out in Ukraine now but we will wait … the world won’t stay united, they will get tired and I will move further.’
“But after Ukraine there will be further steps, there will be other countries, if we fail to withstand.”
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The president added that, before the invasion, Putin never met for talks because he had no intention of preserving peace, saying: “He was just trying to mislead us. He doesn’t want negotiations because he doesn’t want peace. He can slow down things.
“They were sending messages about peace talks, and we have proof of it, only when they needed time to regroup on the battlefield.
“When they had huge losses, they were saying that they wanted peace. This is a lie. We saw them say that they wanted peace and then they would strike with missiles at night.
“We hope that once Russia pulls its troops back to their territory, they will admit their big mistakes, and there will be a new government in the Russian Federation. We are neighbours. It will be only then that we will be resolving this situation. Then, probably, talks will be possible.”
On Boris Johnson
Asked if he would welcome Boris Johnson as the UK’s special envoy to Ukraine, he enthusiastically agreed – describing the former PM as a “good guy”.
But when asked if he would support Mr Johnson if he ran to be prime minister again, Mr Zelenskyy was more diplomatic, saying: “I think that is not correct to me to support Johnson to be prime minister when Rishi is prime minister, it’s not correct, I’m sorry, totally.”
On never losing his sense of humour
Before a life of politics and war, Mr Zelenskyy was an actor and comedian.
When asked about the importance of keeping his sense of humour, he said: “I never lost my sense of humour.
“I think when people lose it, they lose … state of mind. I think so. You have to concentrate and be very serious not during months.
“You have to do it in very important moments, in very difficult decisions, you have to be clever and you have to be adequate and you have to be brave because you are the leader.
“You have to be strong and that’s why sense of humour shows, when you can joke, show sometimes of course, show that you are okay, that you are strong, that you control the situation.
“It’s very important to control the situation. And that’s it. Nobody can make decisions without you. Because then the result, so, I mean, the result depends on you.
“So that’s why you have to concentrate. And humour makes you human.”
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