Zelensky: Ukraine will be like Israel, not demilitarized like Switzerland after war

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that Ukraine will not be demilitarized like Switzerland, but a "big Israel."

 Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky  (photo credit: NIR ELIAS/REUTERS, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SERVICE/REUTERS)
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky
(photo credit: NIR ELIAS/REUTERS, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SERVICE/REUTERS)

Ukraine plans to model itself after Israel and not Switzerland in the aftermath of the Russian invasion when it comes to issues of national security, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Tuesday. 

"I think all our people will be our great army. We cannot talk about 'Switzerland of the future' — probably, our state will be able to be like this a long time after," Zelensky said. "But we will definitely become a 'big Israel' with its own face."

"We will not be surprised that we will have representatives of the Armed Forces or the National Guard in all institutions, supermarkets, cinemas, there will be people with weapons. I am sure that our security issue will be number one in the next ten years," he explained.

Ukraine has persistently resisted Russian demands that it de-militarize, with Zelensky clarifying on Tuesday that his country must have an army to defend its people against Russian aggression in the future. 

There will also need to be countries that provide Ukraine with security guarantees, Zelensky said as he listed Israel as one of those countries.

 Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky addresses the members of Norwegian parliament via video link, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Kyiv, Ukraine March 30, 2022. (credit: Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTERS) Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky addresses the members of Norwegian parliament via video link, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Kyiv, Ukraine March 30, 2022. (credit: Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTERS)

"All this is being discussed at the level of advisers and leaders with France, the United States, Turkey, the United Kingdom, Poland, Italy, Israel, and there are many friends who want to join," Zelensky said. "So far, we have not received a specific list of guarantees and a list of countries that are ready to join us 100%." 

Ukraine needs a small circle of states ready to help it with its defensive needs, Zelensky explained.

"We need serious players who are ready for anything. We need a circle of states that are ready to provide any weapons within 24 hours. We need individual countries on which sanctions policy really depends, so that these sanctions are deeply elaborated in advance. So that in the first second when we feel the threat from the Russian Federation, these states will unite and within three days introduce everything at once, block everything," Zelensky said.

Zelensky spoke to the media just prior to his address to the UN Security Council, where he accused Russia of war crime and called for its ouster from the 15-member council. Russia is one of five permanent members of the council, and as such it has veto power. Russia has used that veto to block any UNSC action against its war on Ukraine. 

"We are dealing with a state that turns its veto at the UN Security Council into the right to (cause) death," Zelensky said in a live video address from Ukraine's capital Kyiv, urging reform of the world body. "Russia wants to turn Ukraine into silent slaves," he continued.

Between 150 and 300 bodies may be in a mass grave by a church in Bucha, Ukrainian human rights ombudswoman Lyudmyla Denisova said. 

Moscow denies targeting civilians in Ukraine and has said the deaths in Bucha were a "monstrous forgery" staged by the West to discredit it.

Responding to Zelenskiy's address, Russia's UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told the Council: "We've heard once again a huge amount of lies about Russian soldiers and military."

Russia says it launched a "special military operation" in Ukraine on February 24 to demilitarize and "denazify" a country that President Vladimir Putin regards as an illegitimate state. The Kremlin's position is rejected by Ukraine, a parliamentary democracy, and the West as a pretext for an unprovoked invasion.

Reuters contributed to this report.