Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he wanted talks with a Russian president; however, he hoped that person was someone other than Vladimir Putin. He also called for his country to reestablish its pre-civil war borders.
CNN’s Fareed Zakaria hosted Zelensky for an interview at the World Economic Forum. The event was sponsored by the foundation of Ukrainian billionaire Victor Pinchuk. In his introduction, Zakaria framed the war in Ukraine as "Russia versus the world."
During the interview, Zelensky indicated he was open to talks but wanted regime change in Moscow first. "This war will be over sooner or later. I’m sure there would be some sort of peaceful process, some sort of talks, and we would be discussing the issues of who Ukraine will negotiate, with what president of the Russia Federation." He added, "I hope that will be a different president in the Russian Federation."
The Ukrainian leader said his counterpart was "living in a bubble of alternative reality," and Putin was "not keenly aware" of the situation on the ground in Ukraine.
Zakaria asked Zelensky, "will Ukraine fight until it takes all the territories it lost in 2014?" Zakaria is referring to the breakaway Donbas republics – Donetsk and Luhansk – and the Crimean Peninsula that was annexed by Russia.
Zelensky responded affirmatively to the CNN host’s question. "When Ukraine says it will be fighting to regain its territories it lost, it means Ukraine will be fighting until it gets all its territory back. It doesn’t mean anything else."
During an event last week at the WEF, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger called on Kiev to cede territory to help resolve the conflict. Zelensky responded with harsh criticism of the former American official. "Mr. Kissinger has emerged from the deep past and said that part of Ukraine should be given to Russia to avoid the alienation of Russia from Europe." Zelensky added, "it seems that Mr. Kissinger has 1938 on the calendar instead of 2022."
The actor turned president also used the platform to plead for more weapons. Since Russia invaded, the US has approved or transferred over $50 billion in aid to Ukraine.