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Transcript: Oksana Markarova, Ukrainian ambassador to the U.S., on "Face the Nation," May 19, 2024

Markarova: "No such thing as fast enough" in supplying weapons
Ukrainian ambassador Oksana Markarova says "no such thing as fast enough" in supplying weapons 05:21

The following is a transcript of an interview with Oksana Markarova, Ukrainian ambassador to the U.S., that aired on May 19, 2024.

MARGARET BRENNAN: We're joined now by the Ukrainian ambassador to the United States, Oksana Markarova, who is just back from a trip to Kyiv. Good morning.

UKRAINIAN AMBASSADOR TO THE U.S. OKSANA MARKAROVA: Good morning. Always good to be back.

MARGARET BRENNAN: It's great to have you in person. Secretary Blinken was just in Kyiv, you were there. What did you learn from these face-to-face meetings with President Zelenskyy?

AMB. MARKAROVA: Well, it was, as always, very candid, very good, very productive discussion. The Secretary has been there for two days. So not just meeting with the president, which of course has been very deep on every aspect of our strategic friendship, but also with Prime Minister, with Vice Prime Minister Federov, so many visits. Most importantly, I think it was good to align what are we going to do, how we are going to- to put to the best use this funds that Congress has provided, and this 2 billion announcement of FMF support, which could, by the way, go to joint production and Ukrainian made production is I think, a great step forward. So very good visit, always good to- to- to see Secretary there in person.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Are the weapons arriving fast enough?

AMB. MARKAROVA: Well, there is no such thing as fast enough when we are up against such a bad enemy, and we have to catch up for a long pause in- in weapons, ordering or starting the supply. So, no, we need it to be faster. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Ambassador, we have more to talk about, but I'm going to have to take a commercial break in order to do that and come back with a more in-depth chat with Ambassador Markarova. So, stay with us. 


MARGARET BRENNAN: Welcome back to "Face the Nation". We continue our conversation now with the Ukrainian ambassador to the United States. Ambassador, President Zelenskyy has made clear on multiple occasions now that Ukraine needs more Patriot missile systems. He says your country only has about 25% of the air defense systems it needs. Is the United States going to provide that help?

AMB. MARKAROVA: Well, first of all, let me second president Zelenskyy on the need. I mean, clearly I was there just for two days, but every day we hear in the news- just today, you know, the horrible hit in Kharkiv oblast again, 27 wounded, five dead already, we don't know, maybe more. Clearly Russia is doubling down on their war crimes. They found new friends to produce more of this gliding bombs, horrible. Just trying to destroy as many peaceful cities in Ukraine as possible. So the fast way to stop it is to provide us with more than- more air defense. It's also the efficient way, you know, because not only it will save lives, but it will save the energy generation, everything that then we will have to spend a lot of money and efforts to restore and rebuild. So, desperately needed. Now, we are in- in very active conversations, literally Pentagon, and I would like to thank them as we are, preparing for the new Ramstein Group meeting next week, working day and night to find it. But frankly, this is the time when everyone have to give us a little bit of theirs. So we're very grateful to those who are providing us with their systems. We're grateful to the U.S. for looking for them, allowing them, funding some of them, but we need more and it's time to literally take some brave decisions and provide us with more of this so we can see them right away, where we need them. Two- at least two we need in Kharkiv and that area. But other places need to be protected as well.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And Germany was looking to provide some help, as I understand it on that front.


MARGARET BRENNAN: You know- you just mentioned an upcoming summit in Ramstein. C.Q. Brown, the chair of the Joint Chiefs, told reporters, Ukraine has asked the United States for help to strike inside Russia. The U.S. has been afraid to have U.S. weapons used in that kind of a strike. What is it that Ukraine's seeking to do?

AMB. MARKAROVA: Well, first of all, you remember, we had this discussion for two years now. We have the right to defend ourselves. This- we are defending ourselves whether we are striking Russian troops on our territory or Russian troops outside of our territory. And we have been trying to do that. But of course there were some restrictions. Now I will not go publicly into discussions- where we are on discussions with either U.S. or any of our other partners. But I just want to say that it's clear that Russia is an aggressor here. It's clear when they're preparing something. So, the UN rules, the international law and every other rules that exist in this country, which Russia violated, by the way, give us a clear right to defend ourselves by striking an aggressor, whether on our territory or for- or where they're launching or starting the attack from.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Do you need more training for your troops? I know there's now a new draft, a lower age. You need more men fighting.

AMB. MARKAROVA: And the training is ongoing. And frankly, this is where we are cooperating with the U.S. and those other partners. We would like to see more training being done in Ukraine so that not only we're training our troops, but we are also becoming institutionally more strong, building there our army of the future, which will be protecting not just Ukraine, but all of us from Russia. So- yes, in- in training, it's going to be one of the key discussions with the allies.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And in Ukraine. Interesting. Ambassador, thank you for providing us that update. We'll be right back.

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