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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky

Photo: Vadim Ghirda / dpa

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky sees Russian ruler Putin facing a problem. "I believe that they have a great internal scandal," Zelensky said in an interview with the daily newspaper "Die Welt", which also appeared in "Bild" and "Politico".

He states that in addition to the war in Ukraine, there is a "very serious" political struggle "between different armies, both state and private". By this he means the rivalry between the regular Russian army and the Wagner mercenaries.

This is also noticeable in Moscow, Zelensky said. "I think his business partners have lost faith in him. And that affects both the military and many other things. Putin has lost the strength he once had."

In the interview, the Ukrainian president explains that he is seeking an international investigation into the dam failure at the Kakhovka reservoir. When Ukraine regains control of the dam, it will invite international experts to investigate the incident. In his opinion, Russia's responsibility for the catastrophe has been proven. "It happened in an occupied territory." He had already pointed out a year ago that the dam would be mined and that the risk of a blast was high.

Dam burst "does not facilitate the counteroffensive"

The breach could not have been brought about by shelling. He assumes that Russia has underestimated his action. "They didn't think that they were also flooding their occupied territories." The incident also had an impact on the counteroffensive, although he could not give any details in this regard. "What is happening right now is a tragedy. An environmental catastrophe and a human catastrophe. That doesn't help us with the counteroffensive, it doesn't make the counteroffensive any easier."

Zelensky is disappointed with the United Nations and the Red Cross. "They're not there," he says. There have been no responses to Ukraine's requests. "I'm shocked." If there was a reaction, it was very diplomatic.

Zelensky also made serious accusations against the behavior of Russian soldiers after the dam burst in the territories they occupied in the Kherson region. "If our forces try to get the people out, they will be shot at by the occupiers from a distance."

Zelensky denies involvement in Nord Stream attack

Asked about the attack on the Nord Stream pipeline, the Ukrainian president denied his country's involvement. "I'm president and I'm giving orders. Ukraine has done nothing of the kind. I would never act like that," he says, demanding the presentation of evidence: "If our military is supposed to have done that, then show us evidence." According to one report, the U.S. learned of detailed attack plans months before the explosions – but nothing has been proven yet.

Zelensky has a lot of good things to say about Germany. He is pleased that Scholz also "sees the situation with our eyes," said the Ukrainian president. I feel the support. I think he's found himself." But there is more to it when it comes to weapons: "We need his support in the coalition of fighter jets and Patriot systems," Zelensky said. As long as there are no jets, Ukraine must protect its skies with the Patriot anti-aircraft system.