Zelensky rejects ‘big stories’, his forces need months of training to use advanced weapons

“I heard these big stories that we would need months to train our troops to use new tanks. OK, give us a Soviet-era tank,” Zelensky said in an exclusive interview with Jake Tapper of CNN Friday. “We are ready to use any type of equipment, but it has to be delivered very quickly. And we have the capacity to learn how to use new equipment. But it has to come quickly.”
Zelensky said in the interview from the president’s office in Kyiv that the weapons the United States and other countries have provided to date, including the new $800 million security assistance program of the Biden administration, helped his country resist the Russian invasion. But he said more would be needed and his country’s coaches could quickly bring his forces up to speed.

“I have heard several times from certain States which do not want to give us weapons quickly because our soldiers are not ready, from a technical point of view, to use them”, he added. “But the instructors of such equipment, our instructors, will prepare our troops for combat. If it’s an airplane, for example, the pilots can be ready in two weeks. Whether it’s kamikaze drones, artillery, howitzer or multiple rocket launcher system) MLRS complexes, we have very smart people for these, we have had training with NATO countries.

Zelensky’s interview with CNN comes as Russia prepares for a new phase in the war after failing to capture Kyiv. Russian forces are preparing to step up their offensive in eastern and southern Ukraine, including Mariupol. Ukrainian forces on Sunday rejected Russia’s ultimatum to surrender to Mariupol.
In the interview, Zelensky said Ukraine would not cede territory in the east to Russia and was ready to fight, while warning that the world should be prepared for the possibility that the Russian president Vladimir Putin can use tactical nuclear weapons.

Zelensky promises Mariupol forces will not surrender

Zelensky told CNN that Ukrainian forces remaining in the besieged city of Mariupol would not surrender to Russia, saying he did not believe Russia would allow people to leave Mariupol unscathed.

“They say they’re ready to let all the military go if they surrender. But they’re not going to surrender. They don’t want to do that and that’s why it’s a complicated and tragic situation because the And without that, the Russians are not ready to let them go,” Zelensky said. “When you can agree with the Russians to let them go, without weapons, but after that they will do is shoot them down. That’s why nobody trusts Russia now.”

Zelensky added that Ukraine wanted to take the wounded from Mariupol but Russian forces would not let them.

“We wanted to take the wounded. We talked about it as a humanitarian mission. Give us back the wounded,” he said. “We even planned for Turkey to mediate and pick up the wounded, civilians and soldiers. They won’t let them out because we understand that Russia just wants to shoot them down.”

“We wanted to take the wounded. We were talking about a humanitarian mission. Give us back the wounded!” he said. “We even planned for Turkey to mediate and pick up the wounded, civilians and soldiers. They won’t let them out because we understand that Russia just wants to shoot them down.”

The situation in Mariupol is grim. Much of the city was destroyed by Russian bombing. The civilian structures targeted included a maternity ward and a theater where up to 1,300 people sought refuge.

Although many have fled, around 100,000 people still remain in the city and its immediate surroundings, which are believed to be largely under Russian control.

Zelensky lobbied for European countries to cut off Russian oil. Asked about Russian fuel flowing through pipelines in Ukraine, Zelensky replied: “Yes, we understand this problem.”

Mariupol defenders dig for last stand as Russia threatens to

“We understand how much money Russia makes on energy carriers. And yes, first of all, we call for an oil embargo because they make 1 billion a day on oil. And we call for an embargo on the gas next,” Zelensky said. “And we are fighting together and looking at those options. But it’s transit. We have a transit agreement. That’s why it’s necessary to have an agreement between Europe and Russia, so they have an embargo on the gas supply. And then there will be no transit.”

Zelensky added that Russian forces have targeted Ukrainian gas pipelines to try to suggest to European countries that they cannot rely on Ukraine.

“That’s what Russia is aiming for. They are trying to do this in order to show that Ukraine is not able to supply gas safely,” Zelensky said. “They’re doing it and they’ve been doing it for a while now because they want an opportunity to reopen Nord Stream 2. And we’re watching it constantly. I’ve already spoken to our European partners about it, I don’t want to say to what leaders I’ve been talking to. I told them, please put a gas embargo, please. We’re willing to lose money. Money ain’t the thing. most important to us. People are most important.

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