Video call

Interview: California Representative John Garamendi discusses video call with Ukrainian President Zelenskyy and more

Recently, several members of Congress met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy via videoconference.

Zelenskyy requested support with defense aid and a call to ban the purchase of Russian gas and oil. California rep John Garamendi attended the call and spoke about Zelenskyy’s character.

“[He’s] an individual of enormous strength and courage. A guy who knows he’s number one on the Russian target list,” Garamendi said on CapRadio’s Insight. “When they talk about decapitating the Ukrainian government there, it means physically.”

Russian forces continued to besiege major cities, bomb a maternity ward and put hundreds of thousands of civilians in the difficult position of trying to flee the country. More than 500 civilians have died since the start of the invasion.

Garamendi spoke with CapRadio Insight host Vicki Gonzalez about what was discussed during that video call with the Ukrainian president and what to expect next.

This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

Interview Highlights

On what was said during the videoconference with Zelenskyy

There were about five specific questions he raised in the conversation. He spoke at length about how the Russians invaded, how the war progressed – how the war was shifting from a military campaign to a campaign of civilian annihilation.

I’ve talked about it. It was standard Russian procedure that they followed in Israel and Syria, where they essentially destroyed Aleppo, as well as in Grozny in the Chechnya region of Russia. He said that’s what they were going to do to Ukraine. They will destroy us. They are going to destroy our cities, and we need your help.

On Biden’s pledge not to buy Russian gas or oil

Now the issue of oil has been raised by Zelenskyy, and he specifically asked for an embargo on all Russian oil. For the United States, it’s a small matter. However, the Biden administration knows this is a very big problem for Europe, and the Biden administration wisely wanted to work with European allies and others around the world before imposing an embargo. in whole or in part.

And before cutting off the purchase of American oil from Russia … the European Union presented its version of [a] reduction of Russian gas and oil. What is happening here is therefore a unified effort from Europe, [the] The European Union, NATO countries and other countries to deal with the Russians, with the main source of income for the Russian government, which is oil and gas.

At every step of the process, the Biden administration has been extraordinarily wise and skillful in not being the leader, but rather in organizing the coalition and then allowing the European Union NATO, as the case may be, to lead. .

On the creation of a “no-fly zone” over Ukraine

Well, a no-fly zone simply says that the adversary – in this case, Russia – cannot fly any of its planes over Ukraine.

Ok, how do you apply it? And therein lies the problem. First of all, if the application is made by the United States and our NATO allies, [that] would put us in direct combat with Russia because you would have to put American planes in the sky to shoot down Russian planes… So a no-fly zone imposed by the United States or NATO, it’s a huge battle . This is not nothing, and we would immediately be at war with Russia.

We don’t want to do that… Russia has been very, very clear about the use of nuclear weapons in any country invading Russia. It would probably lead to the use of nukes, and most people calculate that once you start using nukes, it’s very hard to stop.

Now Zelenskyy has acknowledged all of that…and he said, “We know you’re not going to do this. So give us planes so we can defend ourselves.

…and so he asked that [aircraft] being made available to it from the Eastern European countries of Poland, Romania and Georgia… That’s where it’s headed.

On the losses on both sides and the progress of the war

Well, [there’s] not enough Russian casualties, although it was estimated at over 10,000 casualties, and a good portion of them died.

We don’t have a good account on Ukrainian [casualties], at least not publicly, and I doubt we have a public count. We know there are hundreds of Ukrainian civilians who have been killed, and the way Russia has been campaigning, there will be many, many more – most likely if Russia intends to destroy kyiv like it destroys other cities in Ukraine, it is likely that these civilian deaths would amount to several thousand, and the military deaths will be similar.

What is important to note here in that the conduct of the war, Russia is not doing well, and the body bags are now coming back to Russia, and Putin’s danger comes from the loss of Russian soldiers, many of whom are not have no idea why they are fighting in Ukraine.

The ultimate danger for Putin is the streets of Russia. And since Russia has learned what is happening in Ukraine, even with the massive and absolute blackout that Putin has imposed, there are very competent hackers in the world who broadcast…. Videos and photos of what Russia is doing to its brothers and sisters in Ukraine.

People, I guess there are already some 15-17 thousand Russians arrested in street protests. These numbers will increase dramatically.

And so the main danger is that Putin faces his own people and his soldiers face a very determined army and armed Ukrainian citizens who refuse to submit to Putin’s rule.

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