Zelensky seen in Kyiv office for 1st time since Russian invasion began: 'I'm not hiding'

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
(Image credit: Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP, File)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky released a new video on Monday night, speaking from behind his desk at the presidential palace in Kyiv.

This is the first time Zelensky has been spotted in his office since the Russian invasion of Ukraine started on Feb. 24, CNN reports. "I'm not hiding," Zelensky said in his nine-minute address. "And I'm not afraid of anyone."

Every single Ukrainian person is "at war" with Russia, Zelensky said. "We all contribute to our victory, which will definitely be achieved. By force of arms and our army. By force of words and our diplomacy. By force of spirit, which the first, the second, and each of us have."

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

In several parts of Ukraine, including Melitopol, Kherson, and Starobilsk, ordinary citizens are defending themselves, "although they do not have weapons there," Zelensky said. What they do have, he continued, is "courage. Dignity. And hence the ability to go out and say, 'I'm here, it's mine, and I won't give it away. My city. My community. My Ukraine.'"

Russian forces "forget that we are not afraid of paddy wagons and batons," Zelensky said. "We are not afraid of tanks and machine guns. When the main thing is on our side, truth. As it is now." Russia troops are destroying residential buildings, factories, and churches, he added, and the "hatred that the enemy brought to our cities with shelling and bombing will not remain there." Zelensky vowed to "rebuild everything. We will make our cities destroyed by the invader better than any city in Russia."

Ukrainian negotiators met with their Russian counterparts in Belarus on Monday for a third round of talks, and while Zelensky would "like to say the third and final," he and his team are "realists. So we will talk. We will insist on negotiations until we find a way to tell our people, 'This is how we will come to peace.' Exactly to peace. We must realize that every day of struggle, every day of resistance creates better conditions for us. Strong position to guarantee our future. In peace. After this war."

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.