Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has warned that Russian President Vladimir Putin may start World War III without more US assistance — bluntly comparing his adversary to “a second Hitler.”
Zelensky gave the ominous warning in an interview with “60 Minutes” in which he said that his nation was “fighting for real with a nuclear state that threatens to destroy the world.”
“We can’t change Putin. Russian society has lost the respect of the world. They elected him and re-elected him — and raised a second Hitler,” Zelensky said, directly comparing Putin to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.
“We cannot go back in time. But we can stop it here.”
He claimed that if Putin is successful in his invasion of Ukraine, the Russian president will invade other countries as well in order to expand his empire — much like Hitler did in the years leading up to World War II.
Zelensky described Putin as a “person who has made his way with such bloody actions, with everything he has said cannot be trusted.
“There is no trust in such a person because he has not been a human being for a long time.”
Speaking of the need for more aid, the Ukrainian president said: “We’re defending the values of the whole world. And these are Ukrainian people who are paying the highest price.
“We are truly fighting for our freedom, we are dying,” he continued. “We are not fiction, we are not a book. We are fighting with a nuclear state that threatens to destroy the world.
“If Ukraine falls, what will happen in 10 years? Just think about it. If [the Russians] reach Poland, what’s next? A Third World War?”
Zelensky also thanked the US for the support it has already provided the war-torn country — nearly $70 billion worth — but argued even more is needed.
“The United States of America [is] supporting Ukraine financially and I’m grateful for this,” he said. “I just think they’re not only supporting Ukraine. If Ukraine falls, Putin will surely go further.
“What will the United States of America do when Putin reaches the Baltic states? When he reaches the Polish border? He will.”
“This is a lot of money, We have a lot of gratitude,” Zelensky said of the US’s support. “What else must Ukraine do for everyone to measure our huge gratitude? We are dying in this war.”
But when Pelley asked Zelensky how much more aid he believes Ukraine would need, the Ukrainian president was unable to provide an answer.
Instead, he claimed Putin threatens the possibility of a nuclear war in Europe.
“I think he’s going to continue threatening,” Zelensky mused.
“He is waiting for the United States to become less stable. He thinks that’s going to happen during the US election.
“He will be looking for instability in Europe and the United States of America. He will use the risk of using nuclear weapons to fuel that. He will keep on threatening,” Zelensky warned.
He admitted that progress to beat back the Russians has been slow, telling Pelley: “It’s a difficult situation. I will be completely honest with you.
“We have the initiative — this is a plus. We stopped the Russian offensive and we moved onto a counter-offensive,” he said. “And despite that, it’s not very fast.
“It’s important that we are moving forward every day and liberating territory,” he continued. “We need to liberate our territory as much as possible and move forward, even if it’s less than [half a mile or] a hundred [yards]. We must do it.
“We musn’t give Putin a break,” he said.
Zelensky is expected to visit the White House and the Capitol this week, as he visits the US for the United Nations General Assembly.
He is expected to make the case for continued American support for Ukraine, as Congress debates President Joe Biden’s plan to provide another $24 billion in military and humanitarian aid for the country.
The US president has sought a package of $13.1 billion in additional military aid for Ukraine and $8.5 billion for humanitarian support.
It also includes $2.3 billion for financing and to catalyze donors through the World Bank.
But conservative members of Congress have been pushing for broad federal spending cuts and some of those allied with Donald Trump, the former president, are specifically looking to stop money to Ukraine.