© 2024 Connecticut Public

FCC Public Inspection Files:
WPKT · WRLI-FM · WEDW-FM · Public Files Contact
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

A year since Russia invaded, Zelenskyy says Ukraine needs the support of the world


It's been a somber day in Ukraine. A year to the day after Russia invaded his country in the capital, Kyiv, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told reporters Ukraine has survived the worst year in its modern history, and he said it needs the continued support of the world, not just the West, to prevail in its war against Russia. NPR's Joanna Kakissis reports.

JOANNA KAKISSIS, BYLINE: In a rare press conference, Zelenskyy answered questions for more than two hours while hammering home one big theme - that he will keep making a case to support Ukraine to allies and skeptics alike. Here he is speaking through an interpreter.


PRESIDENT VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY: (Through interpreter) It's important that everyone should know that this is no ordinary war. We are fighting for all of you.

KAKISSIS: Responding to a question from NPR, Zelenskyy rejected skepticism by some U.S. officials who said Ukraine would not be able to push all Russian forces out of the country.


ZELENSKYY: (Speaking Ukrainian).

KAKISSIS: Zelenskyy said this would only happen if powerful weapons promised by the West did not come through quickly enough. He also said that this skepticism is not shared by President Biden or most of the American people.


ZELENSKYY: (Through interpreter) I saw that American people, they support us, and there's another thing, believing in our victory. And this is what President Biden's visit was about.

KAKISSIS: And when a journalist pointed out that support for Ukraine is dropping in the U.S., Zelenskyy offered this warning.


ZELENSKYY: (Through interpreter) If they do not change their opinion, if they do not understand us, if they do not support Ukraine, they will lose NATO. They will lose clout. They will lose the leadership position that they are enjoying in the world.

KAKISSIS: But the Ukrainian president also took lots of questions about countries with less friendly attitudes. Early in the press conference, he said he welcomed China's recent engagement on resolving the conflict. China issued what it called a position paper on the war today, and Zelenskyy said he also wants to travel to Latin America to meet face to face with leaders there who do not support Ukraine.


ZELENSKYY: (Through interpreter) Russian Federation has made a large informational campaign on the territory of Latin American countries. We are interested in you learning the truth. We have shared values. We need to talk, really. We need to talk, and Ukraine has to talk to all the countries now.

KAKISSIS: Zelenskyy made very clear who he did not want to talk to - Ukrainians who have not stayed to defend and rebuild the country.


ZELENSKYY: (Through interpreter) All those who left on the 24 of February, all those who left Kyiv, all those who were supposed to fight for the country, all these people have disappointed me.

KAKISSIS: In a speech earlier today, Zelenskyy gave credit to the resilience of the Ukrainian people and also thanked those who had stayed to fight.


KAKISSIS: Zelenskyy spent the morning handing out medals to injured members of the military and the families of dead soldiers. At a makeshift memorial not far away, Olha Komarnytska watched soldiers hang up a portrait of her husband who was killed in action three months ago.

OLHA KOMARNYTSKA: (Through interpreter) Today, I have no words. It's hard. It's complicated. I can't even bring myself to say the name Russia.

KAKISSIS: She says this year has hardened her and her president as their country continues to fight for its life. Joanna Kakissis, NPR News, Kyiv. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Joanna Kakissis is a foreign correspondent based in Kyiv, Ukraine, where she reports poignant stories of a conflict that has upended millions of lives, affected global energy and food supplies and pitted NATO against Russia.

Stand up for civility

This news story is funded in large part by Connecticut Public’s Members — listeners, viewers, and readers like you who value fact-based journalism and trustworthy information.

We hope their support inspires you to donate so that we can continue telling stories that inform, educate, and inspire you and your neighbors. As a community-supported public media service, Connecticut Public has relied on donor support for more than 50 years.

Your donation today will allow us to continue this work on your behalf. Give today at any amount and join the 50,000 members who are building a better—and more civil—Connecticut to live, work, and play.