Zelenskyy tells BBC he didn’t believe Russia would attack right up to start of invasion

24 February, 12:20 PM
Volodymyr Zelenskyy (Photo:instagram.com/zelenskiy_official)

Volodymyr Zelenskyy (Photo:instagram.com/zelenskiy_official)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said that right up until Feb. 24, 2022, he did not believe that Russia would dare to launch a full-scale invasion of hiscountry. 

Speaking in an interview with the BBC’s Ukrainian Service, the Ukrainian leader said that all the same time, Kyiv was preparing for this scenario, and the military and all the necessary paperwork were prepared in advance.

"I had a call (at night on Feb. 24), I think it was from Bankova Street," Zelenskyy said.

Video of day

“And I was told that they had started. Air strikes had begun. And it was clear what would happen next. The military knew, everyone was ready. Before that, we had meetings of the National Security and Defense Council. That is, everyone understood what to do if this suddenly happened.”

He also noted that the relevant papers had been prepared, "everything was ready."

"Because if a war starts, a full-scale invasion, all institutions had to work," the president said.

“So from the banking sector to our military, everything was prepared. We had to be prepared in any case.”

At the same time, Zelenskyy admitted that before the full-scale invasion, he considered the actions of the Russians to be only threats, because they had been conducting such exercises as those near the border for "years and months."

"There was a moment when they accumulated more and more, and we felt that the chance of their invasion was really high," said Zelenskyy.

“We talked to the intelligence. With the intelligence of our country and with other partners. Everyone saw different risks. And so it is. And so it was.”

He said that speaking with the leaders of some of the leading European countries, they mentioned their telephone calls with Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, who assured them that he would not go on the offensive.

According to the president, London and Washington "gave signals" that a full-scale invasion would take place, but when he asked for weapons for the Armed Forces and preventive sanctions against Moscow, the partners did not agree to it.

"And basically, they said: 'Yes, there is a possibility, there is a possibility that there will be an offensive, but we will continue to talk to Russia to prevent it,’" the head of state added.

“But the fact is that no sanctions were imposed and no weapons were transferred. And here is the result. We did everything we could to prevent them from invading. And I really believed that the diplomatic power of our partners was stronger than Putin. And I really did believe that this (invasion — ed.) would not happen.”

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