Has World War III already started? According to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, it certainly has. He made this statement in an interview with NBC News this week.
Zelenskyy was talking with “NBC Nightly News” anchor Lester Holt when he was asked whether he understood the concerns that President Joe Biden has regarding the escalation of tensions and provoking the Kremlin which might lead to all-out global war.
“Nobody knows whether it may have already started. And what is the possibility of this war if Ukraine will fall, in case Ukraine will? It’s very hard to say. And we’ve seen this 80 years ago, when the Second World War had started … nobody would be able to predict when the full-scale war would start,” Zelenskyy said.
The Ukrainian president indicated that the outcome of what is taking place right now could put the “whole civilization at stake.” He also stated clearly that no one could ultimately conquer the Ukrainian people. Russia can overtake the cities in Ukraine, even the capital of Kyiv. But Russia can not take Ukrainian’s dignity and love for their country.
He said that the people of Ukraine have clearly demonstrated that even when their settlements are ruined and burnt to ashes by Russian artillery, they were “unconquered by Russians.”
Zelenskyy did not hold back when he was given the platform of making a virtual address to both chambers of Congress. He declared once again his push for NATO to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine. And he asked for more support from those who were listening and from President Biden. He made sure that they understood that Ukraine was experiencing a “terror” that had not been felt for 80 years.
The Ukrainian president passionately modeled his speech after Martin Luther King Jr. saying, “I have a dream. … I can say, I have a need, a need to protect our sky. I need your decision, your help, which means exactly the same, the same you feel when you hear the words ‘I have a dream.’”
Zelenskyy also made the case that he does not see an open door for Ukraine to enter into NATO. This decision was one of the reasons Putin used to give a defense of the invasion, and one of the conditions from Putin for ending the war was a promise that Ukraine would stop pursuing NATO membership. This move by Russia is in response to Ukraine getting rid of a pro-Moscow president in 2014 and aligning themselves more fully with the West.
After Zelenskyy’s address, President Biden committed another $800 million in new military support for Ukraine. This will include 800 anti-aircraft systems and 9,000 anti-armor systems. But Biden has not crossed the line is deciding to send them fighter jets, this is something Zelenskyy specifically asked for as an alternative to establishing a no-fly zone.
Someone asked Zelenskyy if he believed that the United States would get further involved in Russia decided to cross a “red line” by using chemical weapons. Zelenskyy responded that he believed Russia has already crossed “all the red lines.”
Zelenskyy pleaded, “If they’re launching intentionally those missiles against kindergartens, against schools, universities, now, that is a cross of every single line. What else should we wait for? For letting Russians kill 200, 300 or 400 children?”
The Ukrainian president also made sure that the chambers of Congress saw a video clip of Ukraine’s devastation. It included children crying and dead bodies being put into mass graves.
In Zelenskyy’s mind, the red line has been crossed and World War III may have already begun. And, he may just be successful in convincing other leaders that it is true.