President Volodymyr Zelensky gave an interview to "Axios on HBO". During the interview Zelensky spoke about the oligarchs in Ukraine, vaccinations against coronavirus, attitude towards Trump, etc. publishes the main theses from the interview.
"Trump didn't put pressure on me"
"When my name appeared on the pages of many media, I read that Trump put pressure on me. First, it was very offensive. Because I am the President of Ukraine. We are smaller than the USA, but we are an independent country! And we proved this to Russia as well, when we kept our independence. And we continue to prove it. Therefore, Trump did not pressure me, and I will never say that," he said.
However, Zelenskiy added that when their conversation with Trump was published, things were not very clear. This was the first serious conversation between the two presidents, between strategic partners and, according to Zelensky, no one had the right to publish such things.
"These are personal items. Sure, we do not belong to ourselves, because we are the presidents who were chosen by people. But I believe that this should not have happened. This is wrong, and this was the beginning of this whole case," he said, and when Zelensky was asked if he was angry with Trump, he answered "a little."
"Ukraine is not an equal member of the European Union—this was clearly indicated by the vaccination terms"
"There are several emotions about vaccination in the world. They may not all be pleasant, but I have to voice them. The fact that Ukraine is not an equal member of the European Union was clearly indicated by the vaccination terms. We are not a priority for the countries of the world that will receive the vaccine immediately," Zelensky said.
According to the President, he addressed the leaders of the EU countries Ukraine has good relations. They agreed to help—and give Ukraine a share of the vaccines.
"But it will be difficult for them to explain this to their people. It is very unpleasant to feel that you are begging with cap in hand."
President of Ukraine
The President reported that Ukraine will negotiate with all countries that can supply the vaccine.
"We have Sinovac—one of the Chinese vaccines. We have AstraZeneca. We have Moderna. I know it is more expensive, but Ukraine does not choose which is more expensive, but cheaper—we are choosing the term now. And, unfortunately, we are not in the first vaccination carriage. We are somewhere at the end, and I want Ukraine to be at least inside in terms of vaccine delivery time," Zelensky said.
Regarding the Russian vaccine, the President said that this is one of the manifestations of a serious information war. The Russian Federation takes advantage of the fact that the European vaccine arrives in Ukraine late, and offers its own.
"During my presidency Motor Sich definitely will not be sold"
"The question is not in China. The question is not even in how the shares of Motor Sich were bought during the times of the former president, during the times of Poroshenko. The question is that we have no right to sell a controlling stake in the management of strategic defense enterprises of Ukraine to any country. This is one. Never, at least during my presidency—I won’t be a president for life, I’m not the general secretary. During my presidency this will definitely not happen," he told.
Zelensky added that he does not perceive China as a serious geopolitical threat. And he added that despite the seemingly cold war between the United States and China, businesses of both countries are represented in Ukraine. According to the President, if a certain country and business respect the people and borders, then they will be able to be present in Ukraine.
"Everyone who interfered in the US elections should be held accountable under the law."
"I want a criminal case to be initiated in this regard. I began to talk about this, how a conversation with President Biden was recorded from Poroshenko's office, who was a Vice-president at that time, how this conversation was recorded, who recorded it, to whom it was transferred or sold—all this is being investigated by law enforcement agencies. There is already progress, and soon there will be results," he said.
Zelensky added that he wants all the names to be on this and the sanctions lists, regardless of what parties these people are deputies of.
"No party should be responsible for this or that person. People should be responsible for what they do. For this it is necessary to raise the issue of unseating guilty persons, their withdrawal from the party."
President of Ukraine
"Instead of these oligarchs, others will come"
"Getting rid of the oligarchs is achieved in two ways: to deprive them of the opportunity to have a "TV", this or that media platform and to deprive them of the opportunity to influence the deputies. It is possible to do it, I want to do it in Ukraine. This must be adopted. Not just a decision of law enforcement officers—who to put behind bars. I am not opposed to imprisoning everyone who breaks the law. But instead of these, others will come," Zelensky said.
According to him, this process needs to be changed at the legislative level. Now he is confident that the oligarchs influence all parties (individuals in parties) that are in the Ukrainian parliament.
Context. On January 28, 2021, the Verkhovna Rada agreed to liquidate the tax police engaged in investigating economic and corruption crimes. But these issues will be dealt with by the Bureau of Economic Security.