‘He crumpled in front of me’ Clive Myrie says Zelensky shell of a man after secret meeting

‘He crumpled in front of me’ Clive Myrie says Zelensky shell of a man after secret meeting

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Zelensky ‘crumpled in front of me’ says BBC’s Clive Myrie

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The BBC News presenter conducted a lengthy interview with the Ukrainian leader in which Volodymyr Zelensky warned Russia‘s chances of agreeing to a peace deal are shrinking. Mr Myrie was asked about his impression of Mr Zelensky, saying that while he showed off his “affable” side he also offered glimpses into the toll the conflict has had on him. Speaking from Kyiv, the BBC broadcaster said: “He’s very affable, very charming.

“Remember that he was a comedian and an actor, he knows how to work a camera as it were.

“But he looked knackered, frankly, when I first greeted him – he came down the stairs, and I shook his hand, and he looked tired.

“He looked emotionally drained and that came through in the interview.

“He tried to give the impression, and certainly that interaction over the text from Emmanuel Macron, suggested the lighter, more dominant side of his nature.

“But as the interview went on, and we talked about those areas in the northwest, Bucha, Borodyanka, Irpin, those areas where he visited, he saw body bags in the streets, he saw the devastation that Russian shelling has brought to those areas, he crumpled in front of me.”

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BBC’s Clive Myrie said Zelensky “crumpled” as he discussed the atrocities of Bucha and Borodyanka (Image: BBC NEWS)

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Zelensky warned the timeframe for a peace agreement is shrinking (Image: BBC)

Mr Myrie continued: “You could see the physical and emotional toll that dealing with all that has had on him.

“I think there were a lot of people in this country who were sceptical that he was up to the task.

“He is a comedian and an actor, that’s what he was in another life.

“Was he going to be able to handle the toughest crisis in this country’s history since the Second World War and also shoulder the burden of potentially the maintenance of liberal democracy in Eastern Europe.

“And I think the general consensus is he’s risen to that challenge.”

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During their conversation, President Zelensky thanked allies for providing Ukraine with military support but insisted more needs to be done to push back against Russia.

He said: “The United States, the United Kingdom, some European countries – they are trying to help and are helping.

“But still we need it sooner, sooner, and faster. The key word is now.”

The Ukrainian leader also warned thousands could have died in the city of Mariupol, which has been heavily targeted by Russian attacks since the start of the war.

Mariupol, in the east of the country, is a pivotal part of Moscow’s plan to build a corridor connecting the Donbas region to Crimea.

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Russia is believed to be aiming to build a corridor between the Donbas region and Crimea (Image: EXPRESS.CO.UK)

Russia’s defence ministry said on Friday it had struck a military target on the edge of Kyiv with cruise missiles overnight and promised more strikes against the Ukrainian capital.

The ministry said its forces had also completely taken control of the Ilyich Steel Plant in the besieged port city of Mariupol.

Russia said on Wednesday that 1,026 soldiers of Ukraine’s 36th Marine Brigade, including 162 officers, had surrendered near the steel plant.

Mariupol, which has been encircled by Russian troops for weeks, has seen the fiercest fighting and the most comprehensive destruction since Russia launched a military operation in Ukraine on February 24.

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