Olha Stefanishyna, deputy prime minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine, told CNN on Wednesday that President Volodymyr Zelensky’s address to the US Congress didn’t mention NATO because that is “not as essential” as a no-fly zone and weapons – and political aspirations will have to go on hold for now.
CNN’s Sam Kiley spoke to Stefanishyna remotely from a secure hidden location in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv on Wednesday, following Zelensky’s address.
“I think that NATO is something which is not as essential as a no-fly zone and more weapons and basically, capability to defend ourselves,” she said, “but now basically it's not about politics, it's about survival.”
Stefanishyna said Putin is failing in the war because “the chain of command which disinforms him, and the senior management around, shows that they know nothing about our nation.”
“I'm absolutely sure that he's uncomfortable in every moment that he’s sitting in his bomb shelter,” she said, adding, “he fails in each of his assessments.”
She also responded to how she feels about her government being effectively driven underground, saying that “we feel ourselves as one with Ukrainian people and we suffer and cry the same with the death of every child and citizen of Ukraine.”
Stefanishyna told CNN she has faith in her country’s military — and the unity and fearlessness of the people — to overcome Russia’s aggression in this conflict, but she added that it's the “responsibility” of Western leaders to provide security guarantees, together with Russia.
“Security guarantees in a broader format are essential to us,” she said.
“What we want is to live peacefully on our land in a democratic way," Stefanishyna said, adding that Ukraine is already part of the European family. "We're already part of the political European family,” she said.