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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

"Putin Has Lost The Power" - ​The Zelensky Die Welt Interview

In an exclusive interview with German daily Die Welt, Volodymyr Zelensky comments on the power struggles inside the Russian government. At the same time, he accuses Russia of firing on rescue workers after the dam explosion, and offers harsh criticism for the UN and the Red Cross.

Screenshot of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky talking during his interview with die Welt

Screenshot of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaking with the German daily Die Welt.

Paul Ronzheimer

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky makes no mystery about what he believes is happening in Russia's government. "Putin has lost the power he used to have," Zelensky said in an interview with German daily Die Welt. "I think they're having a big internal scandal."

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In addition to the war on the battlefield, there is a "very serious" political battle "between different armies, both state and private," Zelensky said, referring to the relationship between the regular Russian army and mercenary armies, including the Wagner Group.

"I think Putin understands this is going on. I think he understands he has a problem," Zelensky said. "There are there, and I am happy about it." Further, the Ukrainian president said, "When does something like this happen? When people feel something. Feel that the situation is changing. I think that his business partners have lost faith in him. This affects the military and many other aspects. Putin has lost the power he used to have."

A call to the UN

During the interview in Kyiv, Zelensky accused Russia of obstructing rescue operations after the explosion of the Nova Kakhovka dam. "It is very difficult to get people out of the occupied area. When our forces try to get them out, they are shot at by occupiers from a distance," he said.

He also described the suffering of the local population. "People and animals have died. From the roofs of flooded houses, people see drowned people floating by." The full consequences likely won't be known until a few days from now, when the waters have receded slightly, he said.

Nothing that Russia does surprises us anymore. Torture, rape: it has all happened.

Zelensky also severely criticized the United Nations and the International Red Cross. "They are not there," he said, even though the UN and the Red Cross should be "the forces who have to be there to save people’s lives," he said.

At the same time, Zelensky said he was not surprised by the attack on the dam: "Nothing that Russia does surprises us anymore. Torture, rape: it has all happened. This is their way of waging war." The Ukrainian President gave Ukraine's counteroffensive as Russia's motive. "They understand very well that they will lose this battle. They are dragging out the liberation of our territories."

Zelensky admitted that the destruction of the dam will affect Ukraine's counteroffensive. "What is happening right now is a tragedy. An environmental disaster and a human disaster," Zelensky said. "It doesn't help us with the counteroffensive, and it doesn't make it any easier." He said it is still difficult to understand the full impact of the explosion. He did not go into detail on the counteroffensive.

A family rescued by boat from the floods following the explosion of a dam in Ukraine.

Rescue efforts underway in Ukraine's flood-hit Kherson region on June 7.

Cover Images/ZUMA

Seeking support: Zelensky's response

Zelensky said that he did not share the view of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz that the destruction of the dam represented a "new dimension of war." At the same time, he welcomed the German leader's current stance on Ukraine. He is pleased that Scholz also "sees the situation through our eyes," adding, "I feel the support. I think he has found his way." Scholz has found the answers to certain questions. "Russia is helping all of us find those answers," Zelensky added.

Meanwhile, Zelensky called on Scholz to provide further assistance. "We need his support in the coalition of fighter jets and Patriot systems," Zelensky said. As long as there are no jets, he said, Ukraine is forced to protect its skies with the Patriot air defense system.

No plans to destroy the Nord Stream pipelines.

If Ukraine were to receive not only F-16 jets but also other fighter jet models, including the Eurofighter, the situation would be more difficult because of the large number of systems. But "if things go faster," it would also be necessary to work with different models "in order to save lives." So far, Germany, which does not own an F-16 aircraft itself, has yet to join the fighter jet coalition.

In the interview, Zelensky dismissed recent reports by U.S. media that Ukraine had plans to destroy the Nord Stream pipelines. "I am the president, and I give appropriate orders. Ukraine has done nothing of the sort. I would never act like that," Zelensky said. "I did not know anything. One hundred percent." He also denied that Ukraine was involved in recent attacks seen on Russian territory.

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Stinkin’ Sunset? A Mexican Coastal Paradise Has A Major Sanitation Problem

As a paramunicipal organization takes over water services from local councils, residents face high costs, shortages, contamination — and a foul odor that’s sullying the area’s reputation as a coastal paradise.

Stinkin’ Sunset? A Mexican Coastal Paradise Has A Major Sanitation Problem

The San Francisco estuary at the beginning of the rainy season in San Francisco, Nayarit.

Maya Piedra

SAN FRANCISCO, MEXICO — Tourists from many corners of the world gather here to watch one of the region’s most beautiful sunsets. In this town in the municipality of Bahía de Banderas, in the state of Nayarit, they take photographs and applaud as the very last trace of the sun disappears.

But when darkness envelops the beach and the visitors gradually depart, the festive atmosphere gives way to fetid odors that roll in from the south, where the motors of the treatment plant start. The wastewater discharge flows into the town’s estuary, which, during the rainy season, fills with enough water to connect with the sea.

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