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tv   The Interview  BBC News  April 16, 2022 5:30pm-6:01pm BST

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against supplying further weapons to ukraine. russia said us arms shipments were adding fuel to the conflict and could lead to what it called "unpredictable consequences". russia has banned borisjohnson, the uk foreign secretary liz truss and defence secretary ben wallace from entering the country. the kremlin says the decision has been made in retaliation to london's sanctions. disaster teams in the south african province of kwazulu—natal are on high alert for further floods, as more rain is forecast in the area this weekend. at least 400 people are now known to have died. plans to send asylum seekers from the uk to rwanda are a breach of international law, according to the un's refugee agency. now on bbc news, in an exclusive and wide—ranging interview, the bbc�*s clive myrie sits down with ukrainian president volodymyr zelensky.
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ukraine's response to the war with russia is being directed from this building in the heart of kyiv, and it's a fight—back that's stunned the world in its determination and grit. and the man leading the charge is the president, volodymyr zelensky, now regarded by many around the world as a defender of democracy in the face of unwarranted aggression. mr president, clive myrie. nice to meet you. pleasure to meet you. i'm very, very well. it's good to see you. for the entirety of the war, volodymyr zelensky has called this heavily fortified building home in the centre of kyiv. how difficult has it been for you to be here through all this without your family? it's myjob.
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i have to do it. and it's difficult, without family, to be anywhere. his wife and children are safe at an undisclosed location. his companions here — heavily armed troops, sandbags and mines. there was no light at all? at the start of the war, they walked around in the darkness here, afraid of russian shelling. it's like our country, like our country is going through the dark... going through the darkness? to the victory. i hope so. as we enter what's labelled the situation room, the president gets a text. emmanuel macron. oh, it's emmanuel macron? yeah, yeah, he phoned me. yes, we have connections. 0k. yes, that's it. so he's dropped you a message. oh, i can see it. oh, no! yes, "just tried to reach
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you, my friend..." when you have some time? so we're holding up mr macron? yeah. i can see the +33 — that's paris. yeah. yes, that's true. a few minutes later, he returns. his preoccupation — a renewed russian military onslaught about to begin in the east. the front line of the war, it is moving to the east. it is in the east. the russians are massing their forces there now. how difficult a fight is that going to be for ukrainian forces, the battle for the east? translation: | think this - is the most difficult situation, the battle for donbas. that is where our key powerful task force is concentrated. the joint forces operation, i believe, is the centre of today's escalation. that will influence the future course of this war. and they are concentrating the troops there as much as they can, bringing their troops from everywhere, starting
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with those from the north who were outside kyiv and chernihiv. they're bringing everything they've got left. also, troops from all over the world are heading there — from syria, vladivostok, many various places in the russian federation, etc — to fight for donbas, encircle our task force of a4,000 people, our military, to take the whole of donbas. and they do not simply take territories. they destroy everything in those territories as they go. they rape people, take everything they can. they loot. they are simply destroying our nation. that is what they're doing. that is their wish. are you getting the weapons you need to fight that war in the east? because it is going to be a very
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different campaign to the more urban street fighting that we saw here in the north, around the capital. are you getting the right weapons you need from the west? translation: first of all, - we have been receiving weapons. we've been receiving them using the process which exists today. i believe that, unfortunately, it is a bit slow. i believe that certain problems can be resolved over the phone or during a video call. there is no need to spend years or weeks trying to resolve problems or meeting leaders. the same goes for weapons. we need to wage war today and we need weapons today. we cannot wait until this or that country decides to give or sell them to us, and it can be either way, in two, three weeks or in a month. some haven't decided yet. still, when we talk about the united states,
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great britain or some european states, they have been trying to help us and they have been helping us. however, we need them sooner. and we need more of them. is there enough of everything? we don't think there is. given that you say that russian troops are looting, they're destroying, you must be so worried about the civilians in the east, in the middle of this coming war. translation: i am - very worried, of course. take volnovakha, for instance. there are simply no people there. all of them have simply been eliminated. those who stayed were eliminated. there are no buildings. there is nothing alive there. as we walked down the corridor, i told you that, initially, everything was dark here. so, there, it's dark all the time. here, life and light have appeared,
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but there, everything is dark. there is no life there. am i worried about it? i am, very much so. but unfortunately, our enemy destroys everything. the cynical thing about it is that their philosophy is that they came to liberate people from nazis. in reality, they have liberated these territories from life. it is simply not there any more. they've freed them from people. there are no people there any more. they have all died. they have eliminated everyone. they always say they are defending something. they're saying they're defending the russian world. they keep mentioning the russian world. this russian world is an obvious russian war. there is no peace there at all. we don't know about the lives and fate of people who have moved to occupied territories and were taken to russia. some, they stopped from leaving.
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others have been able to save themselves using their own civilian transport. we helped them leave for zaporizhzhia using their own cars. we evacuated a lot of people, but many have also ended up in occupied territories and then in the russian federation. we have information that there are tens of thousands of such people. we also have information that among those tens of thousands of people, all of them have disappeared. we know that they've had their papers replaced. some were given russian passports. they've been taken deep into the russian federation. some have ended up in camps, others in other locations. what happened to those people? nobody knows. nobody. the red cross doesn't know. nobody tells us this information. the information we have been receiving is along the lines
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of "someone ran somewhere, someone got in touch, "someone had a telephone, someone shared some information. "someone saw someone else." is vladimir putin a war criminal? translation: i believe that everyone who gave such orders - _ all of the leadership, all of his entourage, all of the military who did this — they are all criminals. i believe they are. if that is what you think of him, how do you negotiate a peace? how do you move forward? how do you sit across the table to try to stop the war? how do you do that? translation: how can this war be ended? - does the president of a country
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at war have many options for ending the war — fighting until the last ukrainian, as some people in some countries want, or doing everything possible so as not to lose tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands or possibly millions of people, stopping world war iii, doing everything possible to end this war as soon as possible, doing everything possible so ukraine is not 100% destroyed? how is this possible to achieve? i don't think anyone has an answer that's100% correct, because otherwise it would have already been done. dialogue is an option. that's how all wars end, or at least most of them. it has to be there.
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we must talk about specific things, pragmatic things, even though nobody wants to, because there's a lot of emotion. nobody wants to just talk. this is no gift for me. this is no weekend for me. it's an opportunity, an opportunity, and i will use all opportunities available to me which the situation will give me. in english: and i don't close this possibility. i and bucha — you know, bucha is, in this process, closing these possibilities. bucha, borodyanka, mariupol. so i don't have, you know... it's not about me. it's more about russia.
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they will not have so many chances, in the long period, to speak with us. first two years of my presidential...term, yes, first two years of my presidential term, i did all i could to have meetings with them, to have negotiations with them, to stop the war with them, the war on the east. in the east? yes. that was the very big, you know, my emotional mission and my, you know, humanitarian mission. i wanted very much, and i found a lot of ways how to do it.
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and now, you know, there are not so many ways to prolong this period. no, we don't have it. we don't have time, and now they have to think about it. they should think about it. yeah, they can destroy us. but we'll answer. they can kill us. and they will also die. i can't understand for what, for what they came. we know what we do, exactly. i know that russians, they don't understand. they don't understand. they want... ordinary people? ordinary people. yes, and a lot of ordinary people now, because of tv information, because of propaganda, they want to fight with us. i know it. for me, it's terrible. for history of their country, it's terrible.
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but i'm not thinking about the history or the culture of their country. it's their life, but we are neighbours. that's why. .. it's their life a little bit. it's a little bit about them and a little bit about us because we are neighbours. that's it. and we can't move. you know, we don't have another planet or another land, and we will not get our houses. that's why i know for what we fight. you went to bucha, you saw those body bags. how did you feel? translation: it was a horrifying feeling, l the cruelty.
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i think all of the emotions were there, but all of them, unfortunately, i have to admit this, i know those were bad emotions. there was no other emotion but hatred after what i saw in bucha, nothing but hatred towards the russian military. i wonder if you did enough to prepare your people for all this. you say that you spent the first two years of your presidency trying to sort out the situation in the east. but in the run up to the war, did you prepare your people fully enough for what was going to come? were you too calm? did you suggest that it would all be ok too much, do you think? translation: being ready for war means several things - _ a stable economy, a united nation,
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which means stability inside the country, weapons and relations with partners who can help you at some point. it was a large scale operation, from many directions, to destabilise our country from the inside. that was the start. so we talked to our country to make sure there was no shock. we had to prepare. we needed money. we needed weapons and so on. and that's exactly what we were doing. we talked. yes, we negotiated various supplies outside of the public view. i don't think you need to be a blogger or take selfies with machine guns or on top of tanks. we had to get ready and we were getting ready. but we stopped our economic situation and our people from being destabilised, people getting rid of our national currency, buying dollars and leaving our country. this is what russia wanted, and notjust russia.
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and we stopped this from happening. we approached it in the way we could, but we did not expect a full—scale invasion when it happened. in english: we understood that we have such risks, - we understood it. translation: and to be| absolutely frank with you, we negotiated certain things with certain countries. we negotiated in december. some things, we negotiated in january. we wanted to get it all of it earlier, to be calm, should there be an invasion which all of you keep talking about.
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"so if it's about to happen, then give us now what we lack." but there were a lot of delays with that. so to be clear, then, you made sure you were getting increased shipments of weapons as far back as january, december? because you were worried about war? translation: that's how it was. yes. you have to understand... translation: we knew that russia could attack at any . moment because the war had been going on since 2014. at the same time, we realised that as soon as there's destabilisation inside our country, that's when they could start offensive actions, because we understood who they were counting on, what our political environment was like, how they even talk to businesses inside our country. we had certain elements of proof. we had that, our intelligence and security service had it.
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and we realised that stability inside our country, as long as we could maintain it, allowed us to prolong this time as long as possible. and this time would be enough for us and for all of our partners. "if the risks are indeed high, then please give us the weapons "which we unfortunately lack. " i mean, in case of a full—scale invasion, because no matter how many weapons we had, we were talking about one of the largest armies in the world. so it is hard forjust one country to prepare for such an invasion. so we need help, and everyone supports that and everyone realises that. so that's what the context was. in english: that's l why we wanted nato. that's why we stabilise the situation in ukraine. that's why we need very strong
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leadership of my team. and that's why we fight in the country with some politician groups for whom russia spend money. and that's why. so, we begin this war in the country earlier, you understand. i do, i do, so to be clear, then, you wanted to stabilise the situation in the east in order tojoin nato, because a country at war cannotjoin nato? is that what you're saying? no. translation: nato is when we talk i about an alliance, and ijust said l that you cannot leave one country, such as ukraine, to fight one of the largest armies in the world on its own. this is what i mean. therefore, nato is one of the ways out of the situation. if we cannotjoin nato, then they cannot fight for us, right? this means that in this case, we need not people, but technology and such weapons which a nato country can get,
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should the russian federation wage war against it. in other words, we needed an alternative to the alliance. and here, i'm sorry, but i'll have to disagree with you, because this is a very convenient position for some nato countries as well, because they don't call it a war before the invasion, they hadn't called it a war. they kept saying it was a conflict, a conflict in the east of our country. but when the issue arose of whether or not to accept ukraine into nato, everyone started saying, "how can we accept it? "because there's a war on part of its territory." europe has been giving $1 billion a day to russia for its oil and gas, and it's given you and the ukrainian people $1 billion in military aid since the beginning of the war. yeah. how do you deal with that?
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translation: we're fighting. we talk every day. we are no terrorists. we cannot threaten anyone. we can only threaten the enemy who came to our land that we will respond very strongly. we inform our partners as much as we can about how sanctions are working and which sanctions are not working. we don't understand how you can make money out of blood. unfortunately, this is what some countries have been doing, european countries. i believe that the issue of oil, which allows russia to make $1 billion a day, you're right, i believe it's a key issue. i think our pressure will bring about an oil embargo. together with us, our pressure and our power, the united states and great britain
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should work here, too. and that's what they've been doing. we have questions about european states. some european states, we have questions about. some are open friends and partners, and they understand that times have changed. the question now is not about business or money, which can allow you to live well. the question now is simply about life, about survival. for example, and i'd like us to be frank, after all, for example, the oil embargo is now, i think, one of the key issues which we know has been blocked by germany and hungary among european countries. and we need to talk together with these countries on how it's possible for there to be different attitudes to this issue of the oil embargo within the european union. we've had this before. we had such a conversation before the full—scale invasion started. we had such a conversation in the european union
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about nord stream 2. and i told chancellor merkel back then that if armed military units were on your border, on the german border, which will happen if a full—scale invasion of ukraine begins, and after the full—scale invasion of ukraine, they move on onto poland, and after poland, they will be on your border, so please tell me, frankly, will you also come out before your people, the german people, and tell them it's all fine, it's business, it'sjust business, it's the economy. it has nothing to do with the war. there's war. that's where we will fight and defend freedom and democracy. yes. we'll fire with our right hand, but we'll use our left hand to make money. i'm assuming you're getting intelligence from the united states and the west, military intelligence. are you getting intelligence from
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the west in your war with russia? translation: our intelligence services are working together. | why did you stay here? why didn't you go when the war started? why did you stay in kyiv? translation: i simply care about what is happening _ translation: i simply care about what is happening in _ translation: i simply care about what is happening in my _ translation: i simply care about what is happening in my country. i i care about what is happening to ukrainians. i am one of them. how can i leave all of this? it is simply impossible. impossible. such a thought could have not crossed my mind. even if i wasn't president, i would stay in ukraine. how can i leave everything? now that it's my huge responsibility, i could not have done it. that's first. second, this is one of the key indicators of what we've discussed. this was a huge operation. i'm sure it would have been one of the steps
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towards destabilisation in our country. it would definitely have led to division, and there would be no such strong position held by the armed forces, the president and the people of ukraine. how do you maintain hope? in the future, given everything that's happened? it isn't hope, it's confidence. that you'll win? yes, of course. mr president, thank you. thank you so much.
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we have got some great weather this easter weekend. temperatures have so far got up to 23 celsius in the south—east of england, that was yesterday, not quite as warm today but warm enough. high pressure in charge of the weather but a weather front is approaching. you can see it here on the satellite picture, this area of cloud, that is approaching northern ireland. ahead of it, already skies are hazy in western parts of the uk. so not sunny everywhere. one thing worth mentioning, the pollen, high tree pollen levels for england and wales for today and tomorrow. in scotland and northern ireland, they are not quite as high. the temperatures by the end of the afternoon will have reached the high teens in the midlands, but fresher in eastern scotland. here is the forecast for tonight, fine weather across the bulk
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of the uk, but here is that weather front that, unfortunately, whether you like it or not, is approaching northern ireland, bringing cloud and rain by the early hours of sunday morning, especially to western parts of northern ireland. elsewhere we are in for a dry, sunny start to the day, sunshine from the word go for many parts of the uk for easter sunday. a different story for the west. a slow—moving weather front should reach belfast by the afternoon, so a lot cooler here. only 13 degrees, with the rest of the country typically around 15—20 celsius. that weather front will make further progress across the uk by monday, you can see it here along the spine of the country. around it, cooler air from the atlantic, which means the temperatures will start to ease from monday onwards. so low pressure to the north—west, a stronger breeze for northern ireland and scotland, showers for sure and probably one or two showers elsewhere
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across england and wales but lengthy sunny spells as well. temperatures already much lower, 12 in glasgow, 13 in liverpool, no higher than 17 in london, decent enough for the time of year. here is the outlook for the week ahead, you can see temperatures easing but stabilising around the mid teens in the south, typically 12 in the north. bye— bye.
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you this is bbc news — welcome if you're you watching here in the uk or around the globe. our top stories: russia warns the us and its allies against supplying further weapons to ukraine — saying it's adding fuel to the conflict. missile attacks resume near kyiv. moscow says it targeted a factory making anti—ship weapons — and threatens more to come. russia has banned 13 british politicians — including the prime minister, borisjohnson — from entering the country, in response to uk sanctions. disaster teams in south africa are on high alert for further floods as more rain is expected over the weekend. plans to send asylum seekers
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from the uk to rwanda are a breach


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