Russia expecting Ukraine to attack in Donbas, but will not get 'such luck' – Zelensky
The Russian Federation is trying to intimidate Ukraine with its actions in Donbas and provoke it into an offensive, but the Ukrainian side will continue to refrain from such a reaction, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky said.
"They [Russia] are definitely trying to show that we should be afraid, and they are trying to provoke us for sure ... We all understand that this is pressure. The pressure is political, militarized, and psychological. Why psychological? Because they are shooting and waiting for us to respond in the same way. Not only that, they 'expect' that we will go on the offensive in eastern Ukraine. But we will not give them 'such happiness,'" Zelensky said on April 13 in an interview with the French newspaper Le Figaro, the text of which was published on the website of the head of state on Friday.
When asked if he believes that Russian President Vladimir Putin intends to annex Donbas by annexing it to the Russian Federation, the Ukrainian head of state replied: "I think I know what he wants, but I would not want to push him. Because there is always 1% hope that he does not want it. Or even if he wants, he will not do it."
"We have heard this rhetoric that he is going to take the entire Donbas. But you should know our people, and I would like you to understand me: we will not give them a single centimeter of our land. Whatever it takes us ... So I really hope that they will not go further, won't escalate the situation. For, as I said, this will be a loss for everyone. And historically, first of all, for them. Because we are on our own land," Zelensky stressed.
When asked whether, in his opinion, Russia's mobilization of troops is a test of the new U.S. President Joseph Biden, he said: "It seems to me that it is somehow connected. I think that everyone in the world is showing their muscles." At the same time, the President of Ukraine noted that "Russians make such steps all the time, conducting one or another exercises."
According to the president, the Russian side reacts tensely to the rapprochement of Ukraine with NATO and cooperation with other countries, any economic breakthroughs. "They do not need a strong, independent Ukraine. We understand this. Although I believe that such a desire is their weakness," Zelensky said.