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What Ukraine’s Zelenskiy Said About Russia During His Marathon Press Conference

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Thursday held a marathon 14-hour press conference with journalists in a Kiev food court. 

During the event, which reportedly set a record for the world’s longest press conference, Zelenskiy answered more than 500 questions about topics ranging from the Trump-Zelenskiy phone call to his relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

He accused Russia of delaying a summit aimed at resolving the conflict between Kiev and pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine's east, but Moscow said Kiev needed to pull back its troops first.

We rounded up Zelenskiy’s most notable statements about Russia and the conflict in eastern Ukraine from throughout the day:

On the Donbass conflict

— “My main goal... [is that] I want to stop the war.” 

— “I can’t tell how much time it’ll take me [to solve the Donbass conflict] … It seems to me that we can’t lose more than a year.”

— “I ran in the election as the president of peace. As president I am not ready to lose our people, that’s why I’ve chosen [to work in] a diplomatic way.”

— “I don’t believe the polls that say 34% of our country supports the independence of these territories. I’m not ready to give autonomy to this territory.”

On Putin

— “We can meet within two formats: the Normandy Four or within a bilateral meeting. About meeting with the Russian president ... I don’t know, I can’t say [if it’s possible]. I know one thing: this meeting must happen.”

— “No [I am not afraid of Putin].”

— “I called Russian President Vladimir Putin ... because I really want to end the war. Those are the first steps toward [that goal] from our side. Both sides should want to end the war.” 

— “What will a publication of my calls with Putin lead to? I think that our meetings with him will stop there and there’ll be no opportunity to solve the [prisoner] swap question. What would I say to prisoners’ families?”

On Russia

— “I consider it strange that we have trains going [to Russia], but that our planes don’t fly there. That’s why our airlines go bankrupt.”

— “We have not only geopolitical relations [with Belarus]. We’re afraid that there will be Russian military bases there.”

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