President Volodymyr Zelenskyy ripped into France and President Emmanuel Macron for not providing Ukraine military support because they're "afraid of Russia."
Zelenskyy spoke critically of Macron and discussed other Western leaders in an interview with The Economist published Sunday.
"They are afraid of Russia. And that's it," Zelenskyy told the weekly after being asked why Macron and France had not been willing to supply tanks to Ukraine.
France's top military officer earlier this month said his country was providing military equipment to Ukraine but didn't provide details on what kinds of weapons, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Zelenskyy spoke more respectfully of the United States and Great Britain.
"To be honest, [British Prime Minister Boris] Johnson is the leader who is helping most," Zelenskyy told The Economist. "Britain is definitely on our side. They are not trying to balance. Britain doesn't see an alternative solution to the situation.
"Britain wants Ukraine to win and Russia to lose, but I'm not ready to say whether Britain wants the war to take too long or not."
Zelenskyy said the complexities of U.S. politics sometimes have caused delays in providing support, though he added that President Joe Biden increasingly has become engaged.
Commenting on Germany, Zelenskyy said Chancellor Olaf Scholz's country was waiting and trying to find a balance regarding how to handle the war.
"They have a long relationship with Russia and they are looking at the situation through the prism of the economy," Zelenskyy said. "They can help, if there is pressure on them domestically to do so, and they can stop when they see what they have done is sufficient."
Zelenskyy also expressed frustration with the nature of sanctions, which are designed to punish Russia for past actions rather than to prevent it from going further.
"The first thing is to put yourselves in our place and act pre-emptively," Zelenskyy told The Economist. "We are hearing that the decision depends on whether Russia launches a chemical attack on us. This is not the right approach. We are not guinea pigs."
Ukraine is in its second month defending itself against Russian President Vladimir Putin's unprovoked attack.
Zelenskyy divided NATO countries into five groups:
- Countries that "don't mind a long war because it would mean exhausting Russia, even if this means the demise of Ukraine and comes at the cost of Ukrainian lives."
- Countries that want a quick end to the fighting because "Russia's market is a big one [and] their economies are suffering." They would like Russia to keep certain markets.
- Countries that "recognize Nazism in Russia" and want Ukraine to prevail.
- Countries, smaller and liberal, that "want the war to end quickly at any cost, because they think people come first."
- Countries that are embarrassed and want peace ASAP because they are "the offices of the Russian Federation in Europe."
As for Putin, Zelenskyy said the Russian leader has no pity for Ukraine.
"I don't think he visualizes in his own mind the same Ukraine we see," Zelenskyy told The Economist. "He sees Ukraine as a part of his world, his worldview, but that doesn't correspond with what's happened over the last 30 years. I don't think Putin has been [in] a bunker for two weeks or six months, but for more like two decades."
Zelenskyy also told The Economist what victory would look like for Ukraine.
"Victory is being able to save as many lives as possible … because without this nothing would make sense," he said. "Our land is important, yes; but ultimately, it's just territory."
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