The following is a transcript of an interview with Ukrainian Ambassador to the U.S. Oksana Markarova that aired Sunday, March 6, 2022, on "Face the Nation."
MARGARET BRENNAN: And we're joined now by Ukraine's Ambassador to the United States, Oksana Markarova. Welcome back to Face the Nation, Ambassador.
UKRAINIAN AMBASSADOR OKSANA MARKAROVA: Thank you, thank you very much for having me.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Your president issued two pleas for help this morning. He said if the west does not provide Ukraine with at least planes, there is only one conclusion to make: you also want us to be killed very slowly. This morning Secretary Blinken said there is a green light for Poland to give you those fighter jets. Do you know if you will get them, and what difference will it make?
AMBASSADOR MARKAROVA: Well, as we see during eleven past days, I think Ukrainians have shown to all the world that we're not going to stop and we're not going to surrender. And we will defend our homes. And like in 2014, when Russians attacked us the first time and there was this brutal destruction of Donetsk Airport, where Ukrainian cyborgs, people that- our military guys, defended the airport until the very end, until it collapsed. And there is a saying we have that, you know, they- the cyborgs withstood the concrete didn't. We don't want that to happen again, so we will fight. Our brave men and women of the armed forces and all of the civilians who are stopping the enemy without weapons, even, will fight, and we need all of the support in order to sustain this fight--
MARGARET BRENNAN: --Do
AMBASSADOR MARKAROVA: So--
MARGARET BRENNAN: --you know when those planes will come?
AMBASSADOR MARKAROVA: We're hoping as soon as possible. And we are working with our American, especially, friends and allies on the steady supply of all of the ammunition and anti-air anti-tank and planes to be able to effectively defend our country.
MARGARET BRENNAN: It terrified the world, frankly, this week, when they saw that Russia fired on a nuclear power plant in Ukraine. And their- your president told Congress yesterday forces from Russia seized two nuclear power plants in Ukraine. They're advancing toward a third. Are you on your own to defend these? Is any help coming from anywhere in Europe to secure the nuclear plants?
AMBASSADOR MARKAROVA: Well, I think it should come because the first station that they seized was Chernobyl station, which is very risky, but it is not operational, so there is a lot of waste there and everything else. And since they- they- won- won of the war the personnel that is there is held hostage. There are no change of shifts, so it is very dangerous. The second one's operation is the largest one in Europe. So actually, that put the world on the brink of the nuclear disaster. And even though, again, our firefighters were able to put down the fire, nobody is safe. Ukraine is not safe. Europe is not safe. Because these stations are not supposed to be run by war criminals. They are supposed to be run by- run by responsible engineers. So- this is something that we are raising as an issue because Ukraine has many power plants, and all of them could be under attack because, again, we're all are shocked not only about that all this indiscriminatory shelling of civilians, shooting people, bombing schools and now nuclear plants. What's next?
MARGARET BRENNAN: So- but what is the solution there? Asking to- you know- U.N. Officials to come in and help secure-? What is the option available to Ukraine to secure these plants now?
AMBASSADOR MARKAROVA: This is the question to the world. You know, we are ready for any option. We're talking about the closed no- skies. We're talking about any type of security operations. We are talking to anyone. So, whatever, whoever, whether it's the U.N. or any other, or individual countries, I mean we should act together. We are defending it. We're doing everything possible. We are being responsible, even though we're defending our home, our armed forces are very careful not to shoot at the power plants, not to do any damage that could impact not only Ukraine but us. We cannot say that about the Russian criminals, who are doing everything specifically to destroy Ukraine.
MARGARET BRENNAN: And Russia, of course, denies any of this is deliberate, and denies the reports from your government that they're raping women, that there is a deliberate targeting of nuclear power plants and infrastructure. They deny bombing the holocaust memorial deliberately. Do you think that the international community is doing what it is supposed to do? Or do you feel like the international system is failing Ukraine?
AMBASSADOR MARKAROVA: Well, look, first it is appalling that Russia is denying it and that they- that they are lying because we see it online, and I would like to thank all of the brave men and women, journalists, who are now in Kyiv and all the other places showing what's actually happening in Ukraine. It happens. They did it. They did it deliberately. We see it on videos, photos and you know we all talk to people back home. So, Russians are escalating, and they are quick, and we've very helpful- we're very thankful to all our partners, and especially to the United States, to everyone, to President Biden, for everything they're doing to support us. But it is clear after eleven days that we also need all of us to move faster because Russians are escalating.
MARGARET BRENNAN: You attended the State of the Union last week as a guest of the First Lady. The president addressed this country talking about Ukraine. That's very different for the American people to hear. How do you explain to the American people why this $10 billion in aid that President Biden is asking for? Why should U.S. taxpayers be concerned and invested in your country?
AMBASSADOR MARKAROVA: Well, Ukraine didn't do anything to be attacked. If we didn't provoke Russia, we didn't do anything. We were not a threat to Russia unless being a peaceful democracy and just peacefully leaving in your own country is a threat. And if it's so, then it's not only about Ukraine, then Europe and the whole world is not safe. I mean, we see President Putin threatening everyone with all the forces, including the nuclear force. We have to stop him because again, it's not just some conflict, it's not just some regional problem. It's a full-fledged war that a nuclear large power that actually signed and assurances, together with the United States and Great Britain when we denuclearize Ukraine voluntarily in 1994 – signed gave us assurances not to attack us. So, we are first, and we need to stop Putin and this criminal war in Ukraine, rather than waiting until we all together will have to fight it everywhere.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Madam Ambassador, thank you again for joining us and we'll be right back with a lot more face the nation, so stay with us.
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