on Foreign Affairs
Zelenskyy on the war to date: 700.000 troops defending Ukraine
May 21, 2022
A full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine could not be repulsed at once because the enemy was advancing
simultaneously from several directions and used a large amount of manpower. This was stated by President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy in an interview with the host of the United News telethon.
The Head of State noted that Ukraine was preparing for a full-scale Russian aggression, but no one knew the methods and scope of this invasion until the end.
"It's one thing when you realize that tanks will go from Belarus. And another thing is that Russia will go to Ukraine through Belarus, another thing is that missiles are flying from Belarus. It seems that the difference is small. There were warnings that there could be an offensive from that side. But the difference is big: you are at war with the forces and means that are on the territory of Belarus, which pass through the territory of Belarus and go to Ukraine, or you are at war with two countries," Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.
The President stressed that Ukraine was preparing for various scenarios of invasion, and our state had sufficient information about the intentions of the enemy.
"In terms of the volume of forces used by the Russian Federation, which used everything, even the reserve, "quiet" mobilization... Concentration was in Crimea, in Belarus and in other areas… Along the borders, they concentrated a large number of forces a year before. I think that today no European country would be able to cope with such a volume," the President said.
He noted that according to analysts, our state could not cope with the full-scale invasion of Russia, at least because Ukraine is 28 times smaller in area and still quite large territorially.
"When you are attacked by a large army, you cannot concentrate your forces around, for example, Kyiv. You need to look and provide air defense, tanks, equipment, infantry fighting vehicles, and most importantly - professional military personnel (throughout the country - ed.)," said the President.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy stressed that in order to protect such a territory, the army should have not 250,000 of servicemen, but much more. The Head of State reminded that at the beginning of the year he signed a decree to increase the number of personnel of the Armed Forces by 100,000 servicemen.
"But even 100,000 plus could not stop them (the aggressor's troops - ed.). Today we have 700,000. You see the result of the work of 700,000 people who are at war," the President said.
In addition, according to the President, at the beginning of the invasion, the enemy struck at the positions of the Ukrainian artillery and air defense forces. At the same time, as Volodymyr Zelenskyy noted, Ukraine was well prepared for the invasion, and there were many things that the enemy did not know about and that later worked against him.
The Head of State is convinced that now Ukraine must quickly provide its army with modern weapons that will protect the entire territory.
"NATO countries have the appropriate weapons - there are Patriots, there is powerful air defense equipment that can protect the sky from missile strikes," he said.
The President stated that the Armed Forces of Ukraine should move from Soviet technology to the latest models of weapons used by NATO countries.
"But it's a lot of money not only for re-equipment. We need to move from Soviet weapons to NATO models. And if you are a country that is not a member of NATO, how can you do that if you are not given licenses, you are not sold anything, as it was before the war," said the President.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy noted that some partners recommended that Ukraine dig trenches before the war.
"By digging trenches, it is impossible to do what we did. Because it is impossible to win a war with a shovel. They told us to dig trenches. And we told them: give us weapons," the Head of State said.