Zelenskyy also told Italian RAI state TV in an interview scheduled to be broadcast on Thursday night that Ukraine will never recognize Crimea as part of Russia, which annexed that part of southern Ukraine in 2014.
“Crimea has always had its autonomy, it has its parliament, but on the inside of Ukraine,” Zelenskyy said, in excerpts of the interview that RAI released earlier on Thursday.
The interviewer asked the Ukrainian leader about a comment by French President Emmanuel Macron cautioning against any humiliation of Putin.
“We want the Russian army to leave our land, we aren’t on Russian soil,” Zelenskyy replied. “We won’t save Putin’s face by paying with our territory. That would be unjust.”
In another comment, Zelenskyy sounded a forward-looking note. “We have to think of the future of Russia. I, as president of Ukraine, say these are our neighbors. There will be other presidents, other presidents and other generations” of Russia, Zelenskyy said.