Russia claims to be protecting the rights of Russian-speaking people in Ukraine, but most of the cities destroyed by the Russian army were inhabited by Russian-speaking residents, and many are now switching to Ukrainian. This was stated by President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy during an online press conference for Danish media.

“For eight years, the Russian Federation has been entering our territory by military means, holding some conditional referendums at gunpoint, which are completely illegal and breach international law. Don’t you think it’s very strange?” the Head of State remarked.

“And if the Russian Federation comes to you and says: it seems to us that someone here is insulting two or three people who spoke Russian, they don’t get proper service in restaurants or something was said to them in a store. We don’t care, the Russian military will say, that these issues are resolved in court or in dialogue – in a civilized way, as in any society. Let’s hold a referendum, they will say. And they will come with tanks, killing children… Is this the format of a civilized referendum? It just looks like Nazism,” the President added.

He stressed that the Russian soldiers in Ukraine rape women, kidnap children, forcibly deport Ukrainian citizens to Russia, depriving them of all documents and rights.

“They came up with a narrative that they are protecting Russian-speaking people, but there were Russian-speaking people in most of the cities they completely destroyed, where there are no more buildings or people. And they are now switching to Ukrainian because they are shocked at how the Russian army could have done that to them,” Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.

The Head of State stressed that today the President of the Russian Federation alone decides whether to stop the Russian army or not. Therefore, he is ready to negotiate with Vladimir Putin.

“If Russia wants to end the war – because that’s what they say in the media – they have to sit down at the negotiating table. The negotiating table on Ukraine is impossible without Ukraine. Therefore, these negotiations must be direct. We can talk to intermediaries, we can talk without intermediaries – I don’t care. If the Russian Federation is ready to end the war, which means to withdraw troops from our territories, I am personally ready for such a format at any moment,” said Volodymyr Zelenskyy, adding that every opportunity should be used to end the war, no matter how difficult it is.