He said this in an interview for CBS News’ 60 Minutes, Ukrinform reports.
"The world is saying today that some people are politically hiding behind claims that ‘we cannot stand up for Ukraine because there could be a nuclear war.’ Nobody in the world today can predict what Russia will do, regardless of whether there’s war in Ukraine or not. No one can predict that," Zelensky said.
According to the Ukrainian president, if Russia succeeds in advancing through Ukraine, "then they will definitely advance throughout Europe, getting stronger and less predictable with every new day.”
"They use any kinds of weapons beyond their territory, so they don't care if it's Ukraine or if it's some other reason… Tomorrow it could be Syria again, or the Caucasus – anything. That’s if they don’t like something or if they see something’s wrong. As their politicians say, their civilization should stretch from Vladivostok to Luxembourg, so no one knows what’s going to happen. I don't think you can hide behind this, believing that by not helping Ukraine, you will hide from Russian nukes. I don’t believe it," he stressed.
Zelensky recalled that before the start of the invasion, he had repeatedly appealed to world leaders to impose sanctions on Russia.
"Before the invasion, I asked for sanctions – I asked the United States and the European Union. My attitude was very simple when everyone said that, as soon as Putin takes one step into Ukraine, one step across the border, they will impose sanctions, one shot and they will impose them… And I told them it wouldn't work, he would take that step, you would impose those sanctions, and what next? The thing is that he will then take his second step, you’ll impose sanctions again, then another step, and then you’ll be out of sanctions. You can't predict Russia’s actions precisely. You have to be very strong, it’s only force that they understand. That's why I asked for strong sanctions immediately," the president said.
He noted that it is impossible to predict where Russia will move in next. "And what will they tell Lithuania? After us, God forbid, if Russia moves further, what will the western nations tell Lithuania? That they shouldn’t defend little Lithuania because tomorrow there could be a nuclear strike. Moreover, I will tell you if Russia moves further, it will say this openly: ‘We are moving into Lithuania, they were part of the Soviet Union, and we are going to Poland because we used to have our troops there before, and if you, the United States or some European nations want to fight for this little Lithuania, we are not sure that we won’t use nuclear weapons.’ What will everyone do, forgive them Lithuania? I don't know what they will do," Zelensky said.
The president stressed that today, world leaders must supply weapons to Ukraine "as if they are protecting themselves and their own people."
“Weapons are a No. 1 thing. They must be very serious in this matter and they understand exactly what I’m talking about. They must supply weapons to Ukraine as if they are protecting themselves and their own people. They must understand this. At a different pace, it will be very difficult for us to contain this onslaught – and we’re talking about a horde. You can't imagine how many people they have, they don't count them. I'm not talking about tanks, there’s thousands of them, I understand this is a secondary thing – first of all, they don't count their people. "They have no feelings to this end. They are thousands, tens of thousands, they won’t count them, and they will be replenishing their forces constantly. Therefore, weapons is a No. 1 issue," Zelensky said.
The second important thing, according to Zelensky, is Ukraine receiving security guarantees. "Because weapons are one of the factors, the second factor is sanctions. It's also not very fair to impose sanctions, although you know that some of them don't work too well. That's wrong, because we found some loopholes in sanctions that are very easy for financiers to find. And so Russia used those loopholes, it's true, and the West is aware of this. That’s just wrong," he said.
Also, according to Zelensky, it is necessary to speak openly and most importantly – to act, to stop being afraid of the Russian Federation. "Our state, Ukraine, which is 28 times smaller than the Russian Federation, we have shown that we are not afraid, although as human beings we’re afraid of war, we are afraid for our people, for families, this is 100%, but we are not afraid of them, at the human level," he said.