Volodymyr Zelenskiy spoke on the US political talk show Face the Nation, accusing Russia of trying to wipe out Ukraine and its people, and calling for Russian President Vladimir Putin and his military commanders to be held accountable atrocities allegedly committed in withdrawing Russian troops. .
“This is genocide, the elimination of the whole nation and people,” Ukraine’s president told CBS host Margaret Brennan, speaking through an interpreter.
“We are Ukrainian citizens, we have more than 100 nationalities. It is about the destruction and extermination of all these nationalities.
The emerging images of Ukrainian citizens lying dead in the streets, he said, were heinous.
“When you find people with their hands tied behind their backs and decapitated, I don’t understand that kind of thing. I don’t understand the children who were killed and tortured. It was not enough to kill, for these criminals? Maybe they wanted to take gold or washing machines while they were killing, but they were also torturing them doing that.
On holding perpetrators accountable for war crimes, Zelenskiy added: “It would not be fair to just take [Putin]. All military commanders, all those who gave instructions and orders must be adequately punished.
He did not say what he believed the punishment should be, but said, “All must be just and just, as the civilized world shall decide.” We believe in justice, in the justice of the western world.
Zelenskiy said he would be willing to meet Putin for dialogue only after a ceasefire in Ukraine.
“It is difficult to say how, after all that has been done, we can have negotiations with Russia. It’s on a personal level. But as president, I have to do it,” he said.
“There is no other way than dialogue if we do not want hundreds of thousands or millions to die [but] I can’t even have a meeting during the bombings. So first, the ceasefire. Then we can have a meeting.