Reporter’s Notebook: Ukraine’s Zelenskyy opens up on US aid, Israel, Trump

He looked like a man with a weight of responsibility off his shoulders – but the burden remains.

Fox News spoke exclusively with Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskyy the day that Congress and President Biden signed off on a massive U.S. foreign aid package, with $61 billion of that going to Ukraine’s military in its battle with Russia – after being on hold for six months.

“We have waited for six months,” he said in the English-language interview. “$61 billion ‘hopes.’ I’m thankful for the people of America.’ 

The hitch now is getting the weaponry to the troops in Ukraine who have been outgunned and have lost ground to the Russians. Pentagon officials said Ukraine’s military could receive some weapons soon from nearby Germany.

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split photo of Gregory Palkot, Volodomyr Zelenskyy

Zelenskyy opens up on Biden’s recent approval of $61 billion in aid to Ukraine in an exclusive interview with Greg Palkot. (Fox News)

“God bless we will get it as quick as possible,” Zelenskyy pleaded, “otherwise they (the Russians) will push us back.”

Zelenskyy is fighting not only against Russia, but also for attention. He watched as the U.S. and other allies pitched in to defend Israel fending off attacks from Iran.

I asked him if he was jealous.

“We saw it,” he said, “and that’s why if the western countries want to be real allies… they have to show the same on our territory.” 

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Zelenskyy is also monitoring American politics. Not just the 112 Republicans who voted again aid in the House… but also that former President Trump might regain the White House and take a harder line on Ukraine. 

We asked him if he could work with Trump. He replied, “Of course, of course, we will work with the U.S. in any way because it’s our strategic partner.”

split photo of Volodomyr Zelenskyy, Donald Trump

Although Trump did not endorse the massive $61 billion foreign aid package, Zelenskyy noted that Ukraine would work with the former U.S. president should he regain the White House.  (Kay Nietfeld/picture alliance/Curtis Means/Daily Mail/Bloomberg, File)

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This as the casualties mount in Ukraine, not just on the military, but also on the civilian side. 

We asked him how he kept morale up in the country during these difficult days. 

“That is the most difficult question for me,” Zelenskyy replied. “It’s a question without a real answer.”

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Finally, I asked him perhaps the toughest question: whether Ukraine will win against Russia. 

“We have to. We have no alternative,” he said. “I don’t know the kind of victory. I’m not sure that everybody will be happy. But, we don’t have any alternative. We have to win and we will.”

At that, President Zelenskyy stood up, shook my hand and thanked me for coming. I thanked him for the exclusive look at his challenges. The look on the man’s face was tired, emotional… but determined.