The following is a transcript of an interview with Ukraine’s Ambassador to the United States, Oksana Markarova. airs Sunday, May 8, 2022 on “Face the Nation”.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Charlie D’Agata, thank you. And some news from this morning. CBS News has learned that the Biden administration is sending a small group of U.S. diplomats, including the acting ambassador to the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, to counter Russia’s Victory Day celebrations. State Department sources told CBS that the embassy hopes to resume operations and hoist the American flag there in the coming weeks. Now let’s move on to Ukraine’s Ambassador to the United States, Oksana Markarova. Hello. Welcome to the program.
AMBASSADOR OKSANA MARKAROVA: Hello and Happy Mother’s Day.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Happy Mother’s Day to you too and to all mothers. President Zelenskyy said he will meet with President Biden and other world leaders this morning. What do you expect in terms of additional support?
AMB. MARKAROVA: Thank you. Well, you know, as we also celebrate the 77th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, it is essential that we all do everything we can to stop the war that the Russian regime, just like the Nazi regime, reignited in Europe. So the president will bring up everything we’ve been discussing for the past 73 days: more military support, more sanctions, more financial support for Ukraine. We count on all our friends and allies to help us with everything so that we can stop Russia while it is still in Ukraine.
MARGARET BRENNAN: President Putin is expected to deliver a speech tomorrow in Red Square. It’s unclear exactly what he will announce, but the CIA director said yesterday that Putin is stepping up his efforts. What exactly are you preparing for?
AMB. MARKAROVA: Well, we know that there are no red lines for the regime in Moscow, so we are preparing for anything. They said they weren’t going, they weren’t going to attack us, and they did. They said there had been no war in Ukraine for the past eight years, and we know there was. They said they didn’t take Crimea and they did. They said they weren’t killing civilians, and yet you see the deaths of women and children everywhere. They torture them, they rape them, they kill them. We can therefore count on Putin and imperialist Russia to do whatever harm they can try. The question is, are we all ready, the civilized world, to do all we can to defend our democracy and freedom? And Ukraine is certainly not only ready, but has shown for 74 days that we bravely defend these values and defend our homes.
MARGARET BRENNAN: There’s speculation that Putin might officially recognize the country is at war and then start drafting soldiers, which would help him build that offensive in the east. Is this what you are waiting for?
AMB. MARKAROVA: Well, that would be the first time that Putin will tell the truth, that it’s war and he desperately needs to draft soldiers. I hope then it will be obvious to all – to all Russians what they are doing in Ukraine. That it is a war of aggression. They attacked a neighboring country, a peaceful country. And the question is, are they ready to see more than tens of thousands of people die in Ukraine for no reason?
MARGARET BRENNAN: The United States said a few days ago that Russia was planning mock elections and that they were going to try to annex parts of your country, Donetsk, Luhansk to the east, as well as Kherson. They are already renaming schools and streets, teaching the Russian curriculum, forcing the use of their currency. So what does the dismantling of this part of your country actually do? Because if you want to get to a peace negotiation, they are already swallowing up parts of your country and trying to integrate it.
AMB. MARKAROVA: Well, on top of all the war crimes they’re committing in Ukraine, that’s part of their MO. We saw it in Donetsk and Luhansk, which they occupied in 2014. We saw it in Crimea. So they tried to create mock elections. They can’t find enough Ukrainians to participate as we saw in Kherson, as we see elsewhere. We will never recognize it, the whole world will never recognize it. And we will do everything we can on the battlefield, but also diplomatically, to restore our territorial integrity and our sovereignty.
MARGARET BRENNAN: So the world will never recognize it?
AMB. MARKAROVA: I’m sure…
MARGARET BRENNAN: – Meaning?
AMB. MARKAROVA: I’m sure. Ukraine must be whole within internationally recognized borders.
MARGARET BRENNAN: So these Western-imposed sanctions would stay in place…
AMB. MARKAROVA: Absolutely.
MARGARET BRENNAN: — is another way of saying it. You know, we see these reports from Mariupol that there have been successful evacuations. It’s just a dire humanitarian situation there. Can you tell us what is happening on the ground? Who is left?
AMB. MARKAROVA: Our brave defenders, many wounded, many doctors are still there. So since yesterday, we have seen the reports and our president has done everything to evacuate the civilians. Now, while it is a success, of course, to get civilians, women and children out, we have to remember that 95% of Mariupol is destroyed, that tens of thousands of civilians died in Mariupol, have were killed by the Russians. In fact, more Mariupol citizens were killed by the Russians in two months than by the Nazis during the two years of Nazi occupation during World War II. We therefore call on everyone to do everything possible and impossible to recover our wounded soldiers, to recover our heroes, to create all possible corridors, in order to bring our people out of Azovstal again, where they bravely defend the flag Ukrainian and Ukraine in Mariupol.
MARGARET BRENNAN: It’s that steel mill where…
AMB. MARKAROVA: Yes.
MARGARET BRENNAN: – combatants have been locked up with civilians. President Zelenskyy said influential states were involved in efforts to save hundreds of wounded fighters there. Who exactly helps? What does that mean? Is this ground aid? Is it just diplomatic?
AMB. MARKAROVA: Well, we know that the UN Secretary General has been in direct contact with our president, but also with others. There are a lot of diplomatic discussions with other states about this. So I think, you know, after the war, we can talk about all the efforts that have been… that have been made…
MARGARET BRENNAN: Israel, for example.
AMB. MARKAROVA: –But on the ground, it’s you know, it’s our brave Ukrainians. And in the evacuation of the civilians, we have to know that so many of our soldiers from Azov Steel, from that factory who were trying to help the civilians out were killed and injured in those attempts as well.
MARGARET BRENNAN: How important is the intelligence sharing that the West provides to Ukraine? We hear a lot about weapons, but what about real information sharing?
AMB. MARKAROVA: I think, you know, the sharing of information between Ukraine and the West with all of our friends and allies is at a level that we’ve never had before. And we really appreciate it.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Ambassador, thank you for your time today.
AMB. MARKAROVA: Thank you.
MARGARET BRENNAN: We’ll be right back with a lot more FACE THE NATION. So stay with us.