Zelensky: World War III ‘may have already started’
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in an interview that World War III “may have already started” as the embattled leader pleads with the U.S. and the West to take more drastic measures to aid Ukraine’s defense against Russia.
The Ukrainian president responded to a question from NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt about whether he’s worried about concerns from the Biden administration that certain actions could trigger conflict between nuclear-armed powers that could lead to World War III.
“Nobody knows whether it may have already started and what is the possibility of this war, in case Ukraine will fall,” Zelensky said in translated remarks.
“It’s very hard to say and we’ve seen this, 80 years ago when the Second World War has started, and there were similar tragedies in history, nobody would predict when the full scale war would start and who would put an end to it. In this case we have the whole civilization at stake,” he said.
Zelensky’s remarks are part of a larger interview set to air on NBC at 6:30 pm ET on Wednesday.
Zelensky has implored the U.S. and other allied nations to impose a humanitarian no-fly zone over Ukraine’s embattled territories, a move that President Biden has resisted because of concerns that American troops forced to shoot down Russian planes would trigger a larger war.
The Ukrainian president reissued these demands in an impassioned speech to Congress on Wednesday, saying, “Russia has turned the Ukrainian sky into a source of death for thousands of people.”
The administration has also pulled back from earlier support of providing Ukraine with Soviet-era fighter jets from Poland, saying that the risk of provoking Russia further outweighed the benefits for Ukrainian forces.
Zelensky dismissed that, saying, “I need to protect our skies.”
Still, Biden on Wednesday announced an additional $800 million in defensive support for Ukraine — marking a total of $1 billion announced just this week. The latest round of aid includes 800 anti-aircraft systems. The president added that the U.S., at the request of Zelensky, was also providing longer-range anti-aircraft systems and munitions to battle Russian air attacks.
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