Zelenskyy predicts Russian loss and warns Belarus against attack
‘Goliath has already begun to lose,’ Ukraine’s president says.
MUNICH, Germany — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy opened the annual Munich Security Conference on Friday, calling on his Western partners to keep supporting his country against Russia in a battle he compared to the biblical story of David and Goliath.
“The Russian Goliath has already begun to lose,” Zelenskyy said, sitting in his trademark olive green sweatshirt behind a desk in Kyiv. “There’s no alternative to our victory.”
Zelenskyy thanked the U.S. and European countries for the military support they’ve sent his nation, while also urging them to do more, saying that Ukraine’s “sling” needed to be stronger. (In the biblical account, young Israelite shepherd David took down the Philistine giant Goliath with a sling and a small stone.) Zelenskyy warned that Russian President Vladimir Putin was trying to drag out the conflict, betting that the world would lose interest in the war.
“We need speed,” Zelenskyy said. “Speed is crucial.”
Zelenskyy also dismissed recent saber-rattling by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, who said Thursday that his country was prepared to join Russia’s war against Ukraine, if attacked.
“The probability that Belarus is going get involved in the war is low,” he said. “The people in Belarus are not willing to fight against Ukraine. It won’t be easy to convince them.”
He predicted that if Belarusian troops did become involved, they would suffer considerable losses.
Zelenskyy, whose remarks received enthusiastic applause from the audience of policymakers and military officials gathered in Munich, closed his speech by calling for the acceleration of his country’s integration into the Western fold.
“There’s no alternative to Ukraine in the EU, there’s no alternative to Ukraine in NATO, there’s no alternative to our unity,” he said.