My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman (2018) s04e07 Episode Script

Volodymyr Zelenskyy Special

[playing Bach's
"Cello Suite No. 5 in C minor, BWV 1011"]
[sirens wailing]
[reporter 1] Air raid sirens
ring out across the capital Kyiv.
[reporter 2] Vladimir Putin declared war
in a speech on national television.
[reporter 3] The odds in this war are
massively stacked against Ukraine,
but it is fighting back.
[Zelenskyy in Ukrainian]
We are not afraid of Russia.
But now the fate of the country
depends entirely on our army,
on our people.
[elegant cello music continues]
[Letterman in English] Because of the war,
there's no easy way to get to Ukraine.
You fly to Warsaw,
then you drive to the border,
take a 14-hour train ride to Kyiv.
When I first saw this man defending
his country against Putin and Russia,
I thought to myself,
"I would really like to meet this guy."
-Where are you from?
-I'm from Indiana.
-Where are you from?
From Ukraine.
Ukraine? Which city are you going to?
-That's where we're going.
What are you going to do in Kyiv?
We're going to be touring around Kyiv
and, uh, maybe visit with the president.
-Yeah, "wow" is right.
Is there Is there anything
you would like me to ask the president?
I would just like to wish him good luck.
-I will mention that. Thank you.
-Thank you.
This is it. This is all I need.
This is all anybody needs, frankly.
[cello trails off]
[elegant, introspective music playing]
[reporter 1] The battle for Ukraine
has turned into
a slugfest of dueling artillery.
Sixty to 100 soldiers killed each day.
[reporter 2] Ukrainian troops,
outnumbered and outgunned, are holding on.
[reporter 3] Across the world, though,
there is continued support.
People determined to show
they stand together with Ukraine.
[Zelenskyy in Ukrainian]
We are not afraid of tanks or machine guns
when the main thing on our side is
[train rumbling]
[Letterman in English] When planning this,
I wasn't sure what to expect.
It'd been months since Russian troops
were driven out of the city,
but just a week ago Russia launched
missiles and drones into Ukraine,
including several that hit Kyiv.
-Welcome to Ukraine!
-Thank you!
Our conversation is taking place
in the safest part of the city.
Three hundred feet below ground
on an active subway platform.
I've never done anything quite like this.
[elegant, introspective music continues]
[in Ukrainian] We're all here
defending our independence, our country.
Our truth is that it's our land,
our country, our children.
And we will defend all of this.
Glory to Ukraine!
[Letterman in English]
Ladies and gentlemen, your president,
Volodymyr Zelenskyy!
[applause intensifies]
[in Ukrainian] Good afternoon.
-[in English] Nice to meet you.
-Pleasure to meet you.
-Thank you very much.
-Thank you so much.
[in Ukrainian] Thank you so much.
-[in English] Thank you.
Well, uh, this is a bit exciting for me.
It's a thrill to see you in person.
Thank you so much. Great moment for me.
But I But I don't have translation.
Oh! You have Ukrainian channel.
If you want to learn Ukrainian, it's okay.
But I prefer
to understand what's going on.
If I have to learn Ukrainian,
we're gonna be here for a couple of weeks.
[Zelenskyy] I will help you. Okay?
If you can't help me, I'm beyond help.
Yes. Thank you. That's much better.
Oh, I'm hearing a train now.
[train rumbling]
I I've expressed my gratitude,
and I'll just leave it there
for right now.
And I'll tell you now
why I wanted to come to Kyiv,
to come to Ukraine.
I can remember, when the war began,
not knowing much about you,
knowing next to nothing about you,
and seeing you on television
is where I saw you.
And you were saying
to your brothers and sisters of Ukraine,
"This may be
the last time you see me alive."
And I found that, I think as everyone did,
stirring and and moving
and inspirational.
And I thought to myself,
"I'm unaccustomed to seeing
human beings behave like that."
So that intrigued me.
I wanted to know more about you.
We got to know a little of Ukraine
through the coverage of the war.
And I began to notice the Ukrainian flag.
And it it's so simple.
Blue, gold-yellow.
And I recently found out
what that symbolizes.
Would you share that with us?
[in Ukrainian]
The two colors, the earth and sky.
This is our land, this is our bread.
It's our yellow color.
And this is sky. It is our sky.
And this, to me,
this blue color is a color of life,
a color of the sky, space, and freedom.
And it's not by chance that
the flag doesn't have any images
of planes or missiles in this sky,
any traces of gunshots.
[train rumbling faintly]
So, to me, these two colors are
the colors of the country
where I was born,
and of the country we're fighting for.
[siren wailing]
Now, can you hear the siren?
[in English] Yes, I can.
[siren continues]
What What should we do?
In any other circumstance
that wouldn't be reassuring.
But here with you, I feel reassured.
What was that?
What was the siren indicating?
[in Ukrainian] Unfortunately,
it means that war has become a habit.
Many Ukrainians have gotten used to it.
And I say "unfortunately"
because I think war shouldn't be a habit.
Sometimes we are so accustomed to sirens
that we disregard them.
We don't pay attention and don't move
to a shelter, as we are now here with you.
To a subway, a bomb shelter, a basement.
No matter the place,
as long as it's somewhere safe.
And to me
[train rumbling]
sirens are a reminder
that the war is not over.
There was a euphoria in the beginning
when the Kyiv region was de-occupied.
A euphoria.
"The war is over."
But it is not over.
Just because
your neighbor's not getting killed,
or your loved ones, or your relatives
Somewhere else our military are
getting killed, sacrificing their lives.
That is a reminder that somewhere,
someone is giving up their life for yours.
[in English] I believe I'm familiar
with some rhetoric coming out of Russia
that there was no Ukraine.
[Letterman scoffs]
How can a person take that position,
that there is no Ukraine?
[in Ukrainian] It's just a narrative.
A pure narrative. It's just the politics
of the current president in Russia.
It's the policy of his team.
They've purposefully
developed this narrative
and they are feeding it to the public.
Sadly, in my honest opinion,
they've won over their own society.
They managed to brainwash them.
Unfortunately, it's true.
That was the most important narrative
so they can justify the invasion.
They had to convince them,
and keep them in that information bubble,
that the Ukrainians don't exist,
that Ukrainians are
just some insignificant particles
somewhere on the outskirts far away.
That Ukrainians have no language,
no heritage, no history. Nothing.
That Ukrainians tore all that away from us
when the Soviet Union disintegrated.
That Ukrainians have
separated from us temporarily.
Very primitive. Why primitive?
Because you'll see,
when everything changes and we win,
you'll see how quickly
they will realize it's all a lie.
[in English] We found ourselves
at the Sophia Cathedral.
And there on the square, the plaza,
is a memorial display of men and women
who've lost their lives
defending the country.
What, uh, struck me as as a human being,
there was a time in your life
when this wasn't a daily occurrence.
It changes you immediately, doesn't it?
To To have to live with that sadness.
[in Ukrainian] I'm not sure
if war changes us.
I think we will be able to understand that
after the war ends.
It's just that the war puts us
in different conditions.
Different conditions of existence.
The conditions in which
you have to choose to either remain human
or turn into an animal,
a terrorist, a marauder, a rapist.
I saw all that. We all saw
the consequences of Russian occupation.
There is that. The war is a choice.
And it's a difficult choice to make,
because hatred toward your enemies
overwhelms you daily.
Hatred towards enemies
who took away the life one had before,
the one you spoke about.
But you have to suppress your hatred.
To know that it's the enemy,
and yet fight by the rules.
As in, staying human.
And that is a hard choice.
And I have started to love simple things
since the beginning of the war.
Children, life, mornings.
Just wonderful.
There are no sirens. Silence.
Silence is a very important word.
[solemn, introspective music playing]
[reporter 1 in English] Ukrainians vow
to fight and defend their ground.
In Irpin, northwest of Kyiv,
bodies filled the streets.
And in Bucha,
evidence of war crimes quickly emerged
as mass graves were dug to bury the dead.
[reporter 2] Russia's military
appears to have suffered heavy losses
before being driven
out of the area around Kyiv.
Armored vehicles in Bucha,
completely destroyed.
[Letterman] These are the relics of war
that've been brought to the center of Kyiv
as monuments
to the ugliness of this battle.
[woman] You know,
a lot of people stay safe in Kyiv.
And, uh, this reminds them
that the war still continues.
[Letterman] Right.
People should remember
that they have the possibility
to go to work, to drink coffee,
but most part of Ukraine is under the war.
I think this came from
Probably came from Bucha.
-Oh, Bucha.
-You know, close cities near the
Yeah, everybody in the United States
knows of Bucha.
It's small small
Yes, but the horror
and the obscene nature of It just
You have to have to try
to remove it from your head and your soul.
And this was something
used there. Oh my God.
[Yulia] By the way,
there's also civilian car.
-[Letterman] Yes.
-A lot of people died during evacuation.
People wanted to find peace
in another part of the land, of Ukraine.
And they were killed
directly in their cars.
It was horrible.
How many people left the country?
-You said you fed five million people.
-These are all refugees?
At the end of the summer,
a lot of people came back
because they want to stay in their homes
and they like their children go to school.
And approximately two million
still stay outside of the country.
[somber, reflective music playing]
Good God!
And then, the sandbags
They protect the monument
of the founder of Kyiv.
Can we see that from here?
-It's impossible, it's covered
-[Letterman] Entirely covered by sandbags.
[Yulia] All important monuments
are covered by the sand.
[train rumbling]
Since I've been a parent,
I wake up every morning
and it takes me a second or two
to realize where I am, what I am,
and am I frightened about anything.
Then I run through that little checklist.
I think everybody must do
some version of that.
You You must have
a much longer checklist when you wake up
to kind of reestablish
where you are in the world, in reality.
[in Ukrainian] First of all,
let me tell you,
I absolutely understand
where I am when I wake up.
I can't share with you
my whereabouts where I wake up
because it's not safe for me.
But when I wake up,
I'm already happy
that I was able to wake up.
But jokes aside,
if you want to know
my daily routine, I can tell you about it.
I wake up
at about 6:00 a.m., 5:30, 6:00 a.m.
If there is an emergency,
a phone call might wake me up.
Then I have a military meeting.
I won't talk about my shower.
If you are really interested,
I can give you all these details.
But I'm a very ordinary person.
I don't think it will surprise you.
[in English] I'm glad you shower.
[Zelenskyy, audience laugh]
[in Ukrainian] I knew you would say that.
That's why I told you. I knew you'd react.
And if you ask me
what moments in life are most pleasant,
those are the moments
when I can talk over the phone
to my children or my wife.
I shouldn't say "or"
as my wife will get offended.
Let's put it this way, when I can talk
first and foremost with my wife,
then sometimes with my children.
I think she will like
this way of putting it more.
[Letterman chuckles]
And it is during such conversations
that I can finally breathe.
[in English] You're a different guy
than you used to be.
You do different What did you do today?
Other than talking to me.
[in Ukrainian] What am I doing in general?
I think that's the most important question
of this meeting, what I'm doing.
Well, other than talking to you,
I have some
[laughs heartily]
[in English] I have some
some things that I have to do.
-Yeah. Well, like Yeah.
-As you understand.
[in Ukrainian] So my daily routine is
the management of the war,
the management of the state of Ukraine.
24/7, every day.
And I also love to eat.
[audience laughs]
[in English] I would like
to talk about your wife.
Your wife has been to the United States.
[in Ukrainian] Yes,
my wife has been there.
You are correct.
She addressed Congress.
She was on a very important mission.
At some point, frankly speaking,
we had some concerns
about support slowing down.
And about an information vacuum.
And we realized that we had
an air defense shortage.
And we had to close the sky.
And I was trying
many different approaches.
And she, as a mother,
was concerned, as any mother would be.
We received a response from our partners
that they indeed understood us.
And that they would discuss
how to supply us with defense systems.
That's why her visit was very important.
It had humanitarian goals.
Large funds were dispersed
to build bomb shelters in schools
in different areas
that were reconquered by our troops.
And it helped.
[Letterman in English]
With your children Uh
What What do you say to your children?
What did you tell your family
when the war was imminent?
And some days, are
Can you have a good day
in the middle of a war?
Or Or even a victory is
Can be ugly, can be awful.
But yet it's a victory.
What do you talk to your kids about?
[in Ukrainian] We have no need to explain
anything about victory to our children.
Trust me, they know
much more about the war than we do.
I'm telling you this very frankly now.
My son is nine years old.
He knows the names of all the weapons.
And he didn't learn them from me.
They are deeply immersed in the war.
In one sense, on the one hand,
it's easier for me than for other fathers
because I rarely see my kids,
and whenever I have
this opportunity to see them,
they're happy
regardless of what I tell them.
Sometimes it seems that
it does not even matter
what exactly I tell them.
The important thing
is that I'm with them, that I hug them.
So this is a warm moment.
And our conversation
is a very warm moment for me.
On the one hand,
Putin stole childhood from our children.
But on the other hand, we can say that
each of us should make sacrifices
for the sake of our country.
Our children sacrificed their childhood.
[train rumbling]
[in English] This is an oft-told story.
Uh, you're on television,
you have a successful television show,
you play a guy who was a teacher.
You're caught on videotape. It goes viral.
It's your rant
against the current government
and the running of your country.
And the next thing you know,
you become president.
And then that kind of happens.
With that plot line of the show,
was that decided
to get you into the office of president?
Was it It can't
Is it just pure coincidence?
[in Ukrainian] I don't think I can
calculate everything to such an extent.
To be honest with you.
Just between us.
No one should know about that.
Maybe after my presidency is over,
I will be able to answer that question.
Ah! [laughs]
[in English] Oh? That's fascinating.
Thank you, I'll be back.
[in Ukrainian] Just recently,
we watched at our Kvartal Studio
Putin's speech at the Pillar Hall.
Vladimir Vladimirovich said a phrase
that made a strong impression.
It touched the very soul.
"Kyiv is the Mother of Russian cities."
Russian cities.
So, I now have a question
for the Russian people.
[audience clapping]
Why say such nasty things on the news
about your mother?
[in English] You have been funny
most of your life.
It's how you made your living,
being funny.
And you, I guess, indicated
you can be funny in a daily situation.
You can make jokes even with the misery
that has befallen everybody.
Do you find yourself using that tool
when you talk
to the people of your country
when when you face difficult problems?
Are you Are you drawing
on that ability that you have?
[in Ukrainian] I guess that the fact
that your question makes me smile
I'm very grateful for that
because these days
there aren't as many opportunities
in our lives for a smile.
But you can't live without a smile.
Humor is a part of one's being.
A sense of humor is very important.
It's important,
as it helps one not to lose their mind.
You know, there's this genre
of drama and comedy.
A tragicomedy.
And all those people in trenches,
those who are here,
those passing by in a subway car,
all these people on their way to work,
all of us are working
so that life continues.
And we resort to humor
to raise our spirits.
And I think in the Soviet times
it was rather difficult for all of us.
And I think humor gave us inspiration,
the desire to keep living, to raise kids.
Just as it does now, the times are tough,
but people keep on joking.
[in English] Funny joke.
Yeah? Funny joke, like
[in Ukrainian] Here. Let me tell you one.
-[in English] Yes.
[in Ukrainian] Two Jewish guys
from Odesa meet up.
One is asking the other,
"So, what's the situation?"
"What are people saying?"
And he goes, "What are people saying?
They are saying it's a war."
"What kind of war?"
"Russia is fighting NATO."
"Are you serious?"
"Yes! Russia is fighting NATO."
"So? How's it going?"
"What do you mean, how is it going?"
"Seventy thousand Russian soldiers
are dead."
"Missiles stockpile
has been almost depleted."
"A lot of equipment is damaged, blown up."
"That's the situation." "What about NATO?"
"What about NATO?
NATO hasn't even arrived yet!"
[audience member laughs]
[laughs heartily]
[plucky classical music playing]
[emcee] We have a guest tonight.
[audience cheering]
[in English] I'm, uh, Mykhailo Hrushevsky.
[laughter, applause]
My name is Dave Letterman and I came
from the United States to Ukraine
to get away from
all of the violent gunplay.
-Anton Tymoshenko?
-That's right.
-Nice to meet you.
-Nice to meet you, David.
I'm very happy. I'm very excited.
It's a big honor for me to see you.
-You're just a kid. You're like 28?
How long have you been a stand-up comic?
For eight years, I suppose. Yeah.
What's the first time
you got a response for being funny?
-My first show was at university
and people react very good.
And then I took this material
and go to the open mic in Kyiv,
and performed in silence
because it was very bad.
I've I've I've done that.
[chuckles] I've done that for years.
We're talking about comedy,
we're in a comedy club,
-and we're also in the middle of a war.
And the president of the country,
who's leading the war,
also worked in comedy.
Yeah. Zelenskyy is
literally as funny as hell!
When you were a kid,
did you watch what he did on television?
Yeah, I watched him.
I dreamt to be that guy.
But now I'm not sure. Like, this
I dreamt to be a comedian,
but I don't dream to be a president.
Lots of journalists ask me this.
A German journalist asked me,
"Your president is a comedian,
and you do too. Maybe you wanna"
I said, "No! Do you see the news?
It's not a simple job."
-Yeah. That's a dumb question.
-Somebody says, "Oh! You're a comic?"
-Thank you!
"One day you gonna be president?"
Nah. That's ridiculous!
[in Ukrainian] A little warm-up.
Glory to Ukraine!
[audience] Glory to heroes!
-Glory to the nation!
-Death to the enemies!
-Above all!
-Is a dickhead!
-Is a dickhead!
[audience cheers]
-[in English] Just checking.
I hope David discovered
most famous places in Kyiv.
Like Maidan of Independence,
Sophia Cathedral,
kamikaze drones, you know
You're You're at war.
Is all your material about war now?
All my new material
I write now is like 90% about war
or about, like, my daily routine,
but with war context in it.
Well, that's the age-old
universal question about comedy.
Can you make jokes about anything?
-Can you make jokes about being at war?
You can make jokes about another war,
but this is your war.
And these is my jokes about this war.
Comedy has no limits.
You can joke about all this stuff.
Comedy really helps.
I went around to a small farm in the area.
Anybody? Where are my small farmers?
[audience chuckling]
And, uh, the people were so friendly.
And And before I left,
they actually Listen to this
They voted my beard best in village.
I'm eager to speak of Putin.
First of all,
do the people of Russia believe him?
[in Ukrainian] Yes.
Unfortunately, we have to state that
quite a large percentage
of people believe him.
But, it's like, you know,
they have shut the doors, the windows,
and they have hidden from the war.
It's cowardice. That's it.
It's not knowing where you live,
not recognizing reality.
But there are also those
who are simply afraid.
They are aware of the reality,
but they are just afraid because
Well, because
because they are scared.
[in English] Let's just say
that Putin got a really bad cold and died.
Or accidentally fell
out of a window and died.
[train rumbling]
Would this continue?
[in Ukrainian] No.
There would be no war. There wouldn't be.
The authoritarian regime is dangerous
as it poses great risks.
Because you can't allow just one person
to have total control over everything.
That's why when such a person is gone,
institutions come to a halt.
That's what happened
back in the Soviet Union.
Everything collapsed.
And that's why I think
if he's gone, it will be hard for them.
They will have to deal with
their internal policy,
rather than foreign issues.
[in English] In the United States,
there is regular discussion
that the United States may be nearing
the end of its democratic government.
And in my lifetime,
I've never heard that before.
And when you invoke authoritarianism,
I just I can't imagine
what people would find more desirable
with that form of government
than struggling to make democracy work.
It It's beyond conception.
I I But it seems like
that's a regular possibility.
[in Ukrainian] They will
fight for democracy.
They will fight for democracy
only when they realize that
the large-scale isolation
is finally there.
They are isolated
from the whole civilized world.
And there's only
one way out of this isolation,
respecting international law.
And that's already a democracy.
Recognizing sovereignty,
territorial integrity
It's not just about Ukraine.
It's all the post-Soviet countries,
Georgia, Moldova
They've left their footprints everywhere.
The world doesn't want to shake hands
with today's Russian leaders anymore.
In every sense of the word.
It's not about a physical handshake.
I'm talking about serious things.
It's not allowed
to participate in competitions,
world championships, cultural events,
Oscar ceremonies, nothing.
That's what isolation is.
That's how the world responds.
It doesn't shake your hand anymore.
That's what I think.
It seems to me
that it is the only appropriate response
from the international community
towards Russia.
Russia has become a symbol of emptiness.
Something extremely unpleasant.
[in English] Everybody knows
that around the world at any given time,
there are war-like conflicts.
This is the one that has the attention
certainly of the western world.
Uh, you're the defender now.
What How do you feel about that?
Can I That is your water.
Oh, I'm sorry. Oh no, this is my
Or do I have
No, it's okay. I can If I
-God forbid we mix up our water.
-If you want yours, I can give you yours.
-I'd rather have mine, if you don't mind.
Yours better?
Yes. I have to make sure
I have better water.
Thank you so much.
-Oh! This is tremendous!
-This is so good!
-I was waiting when you will say it.
-But that is your glass.
That is a great glass.
-So I'm sorry.
I was looking at how you drink
better water than I have.
That's why I didn't hear your question.
All right. Let's put that aside.
Let's go on to something else.
The spirit of the people.
I heard you,
in your Defenders of Ukraine address,
were talking
about the great spirit of Ukrainians.
And that Ukrainians were the country's
best, greatest natural resource.
And we certainly see that.
And I believe
that they are that way because of you.
[in Ukrainian] Thank you so much.
All my words were absolutely sincere.
I've always wanted to support our people.
And I have a clear understanding,
a very sober understanding,
that the person
who is right now, with a weapon in hand,
fighting the enemy, advancing forward,
and saying, "I'm not afraid, I can do it"
I know that deep inside
this person can be scared.
Because they are human.
And they have something
they are afraid to lose.
And I really want to tell these soldiers
how proud we are of them,
how dependent we are on them,
how loving and caring we are towards them.
And that's why
the military alone can't do it all.
Only if we, civilians,
all give our lives as well.
Risk our lives as well.
And that's what I also meant
when I spoke to our nation.
And they heard me.
And they were united,
and they still are united.
But back then, villagers went out
to stop tanks with their bare hands.
Ordinary random people
of different professions,
unemployed or even retired.
Regardless of their age.
All those people at that moment
were being military.
All those people were protecting
much more than what they had
and were sacrificing their lives.
["Boca (Alternate 1)"
by Ludovic Beier playing]
[in English] The rail system
is important, understandably.
But But what is so important
to Ukraine about the rail system?
From day one we became the backbone
of the security of the country.
We became the lifeline
for people, uh, running from the war.
We're the largest employer in the country.
We have 231,000 people on board.
And some people say
we are the second army of Ukraine.
To what extent has damage
been done to the rail system?
From day one, they shell us.
But we find a way
how to repair and keep running.
[somber piano music playing]
[man 1 in Ukrainian]
Have you seen a missile?
-Was it flying low?
It flew just over my head.
-[man 2] They shot down the missile.
-[man 1] Was it targeting the bridge?
[Kamyshin in English]
We are living a normal life.
Even under the shelling.
And we've tried to find a way
how we can live this normal life.
I told you, the war is not excuse for us.
[Letterman] It's interesting you say that.
"The war is not an excuse."
Uh, for For a lot of countries,
it's not only an excuse,
it's the end of the country.
So where where does that come from?
"We're not gonna
let the war get in our way."
From the president.
He says we should find a way
how we can keep running,
no matter what happens around us.
That's lifeline.
People can travel. Cargo can go.
Humanitarian aid can get in.
And all the rest.
-Tell me what you did before the war.
-At one point I've been a farmer.
Now, what do you do since the war?
Like all Ukrainians, we fight.
I'm fighting on the railway side.
Did you know anything
about running trains before?
I've been running the company
half year before the war.
So [chuckles]
You joined the company six months before,
and now you're
in charge of the entire rail system?
You know Zelenskyy?
-Yeah, I know Zelenskyy.
-Are you friends?
No, we're not friends.
-How do you know him?
-He's my president.
-And did he ask you to take this job?
How did that go? What What did he say?
"Go and do what you have to do
to make railways much better."
Congratulations on a job well done.
[Letterman] How much longer will this go?
What does winning look like to you?
[in Ukrainian] No one can tell you
how long it will take.
I'm a responsible person
and I know how important it is for people
to hear when the war is going to end.
Because that's the main question.
That's why there should also be
a main answer.
And that's why
I don't treat these things lightly.
For us, the end of the war,
no matter what's being said,
whether someone believes it or not,
the end of the war will be
when we reclaim our lands and our borders.
That's why your question,
when the war is going to end
It's not about freezing the conflict.
It's not like
tomorrow the drones stop flying,
yet on the front lines people keep killing
but it's too far away to concern us.
No, it'd be untrue and unfair.
Because all of that concerns us.
They are our citizens
and they are the ones who are fighting.
And that's why, as I said,
the war is not far away.
The war is everywhere
and it's in everyone's house now.
And that's why the war will end
when all of our lands
are free from occupation.
[in English] I have been told
by people much smarter than I am
that, uh, you're winning the war
and you will win the war.
And that you are defending democracy
not just for your country, Ukraine.
You're defending democracy, uh,
oddly enough, sadly enough,
for the world.
So you you are doing this work for us.
You must feel that. You must know that.
[in Ukrainian] We understand
what is happening in the United States.
We follow the news, that's true.
It's very important for us because
the U.S. is the main supporter of Ukraine.
And without their support,
it would be difficult for us.
I mean, very difficult.
And by the way, when the war ends
also largely depends on that support.
To have a shorter war,
we need more powerful aid.
And we are following
because we are worried about this fact,
and we hear
different messages from everywhere.
If the climate changes
in politics, in Congress,
it might indeed have a significant impact
on the support of Ukraine.
And here lies
this crucial point you mentioned.
We are fighting for the whole world,
for democracy,
for freedom in the whole world.
We know what we are fighting for.
The most important thing is
for U.S. society to be aware of that too,
so that they don't stray
from the path of helping Ukraine.
So that they know
we're fighting for them as well.
[train rumbling]
[in English] When we got on the train
to come, uh, into Ukraine,
there was a a woman
standing on the platform.
And I said, "Is there anything
you would like me to tell the president?"
And she said,
"Yes. Please tell him I said good luck."
-And that would be my message for you.
-Thank you so much. Thank you so much.
I just wanted to thank you
because not everybody from United States,
from European countries,
from all over the world,
is ready to come and support Ukrainians.
I will say for myself and our staff,
it's a very proud moment.
Thank you so much.
President Zelenskyy, everyone.
Thank you so much. Thank you so much.
[reporter 1] water supplies in Kharkiv
[reporter 2] war and famine
remain three big concerns
as Russia's invasion of Ukraine
enters the harsh winter months
[reporter 3] Ukraine's power generation
has been attacked
and knocked offline
by new Russian attacks.
Hello, Mr. President.
Hello, David.
Hello. Good to see you.
Nice to see you. How are you?
I'm doing quite well, thank you.
And thank you for your time.
And I will ask you how are you,
and how are things in Ukraine?
[in Ukrainian] Thank you so much.
I feel okay. I'm alive.
I believe this is good news.
We're alive, we're strong.
We're marching forward.
And that's how things are in Ukraine.
And where are you, by the way?
In which city?
[in English]
I'm in New York City right now.
And it's it's starting to get cold here.
And we think about Ukraine,
and power plants,
and the energy sources being demolished.
And how how are you able
to rebound and combat that.
[in Ukrainian]
We're rebuilding, although it's hard.
We've opened up
the so-called Unbreakable Centers.
We named them this way so people
could leave their homes where there is
no electricity for more than 12 hours.
We live on and wonder
how similar things are
to the events in the '40s,
those of the past century.
[Letterman in English]
Are you tired of this as your daily life?
Are the people of Ukraine
tired of this as their daily life?
[in Ukrainian] One thing that
the president of the Russian Federation
failed to calculate correctly
is that the more they strike against us,
attacking our integrity and our dignity,
thus attacking unfairly
The more they attack us,
the more people want
to come out of this with dignity
and to come out of this victorious.
That's why when we did a survey,
it showed that 98%
of our country's population today
would rather stay
without electricity and water
as long as they are free from Russia.
Russia holds control over famine,
electricity, and water supplies.
I think if you're not God,
and you do this,
then who are you?
A barbarian.
The Kremlin officials should
make their minds up about who they are.
Whether they are barbarians
or just insane.
Unfortunately, none of that
works for Ukraine.
[in English] From the very beginning,
something as worrisome became obvious.
And that was the supposed threat
of some kind of nuclear conflict,
nuclear activity.
Was Was that ever
as likely as everyone feared?
[in Ukrainian] Of course, I think
that there are two different issues here
which can lead
to approximately the same kind of outcome.
Their occupation
of our nuclear power plant
is already a great threat.
That's an outcome.
Another issue is, is there
a threat of nuclear attack by Putin?
I had a meeting with him,
and I saw in him the desire to live.
He loves his life so much.
He even chooses
to sit at that ridiculously long table.
He is afraid of catching COVID-19
or some other infection.
This indicates that he is afraid of death
and he loves life.
So I'm not sure
if he is ready to use a nuclear weapon.
Because he understands
that if he presses the button,
the next step will be
a response from some other country,
aimed at him.
Personally at him.
[in English] What about the future?
What What do you have
in mind for yourself?
[in Ukrainian] I will definitely hold
the office of president until we win.
And I'm not even thinking about
what is going to happen after that.
Not yet. I'm not ready.
I would really like to just go to the sea.
I'll be honest, David.
I really want to go to the sea.
To spend some time at the seaside
after our victory.
And I'd love me some beer.
[in English] I'd like
a cold glass of beer now.
Mr. President
thank you very much for your time.
It's great to see you again.
Thank you. All the best to Americans,
to the American people.
Thank you, your society for the big help.
And respect for all your support.
Really. From our heart, thank you.
[solemn, evocative outro music playing]
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