Manchester students speak directly with Ukrainian President in an online Q&A

Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the student Ukrainian society in Manchester pledging that he would not give up or "concede" territory to Russia. Credit: University of Manchester

Students from Manchester University have been asking questions directly to the Ukrainian President.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed the student Ukrainian society in Manchester pledging that he would not give up or "concede" territory to Russia.

The event was co-moderated by Professor Dimitris Papadimitriou of the Manchester Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence.

He said: "The war is fought on two fronts, the military confrontation is the most important but there is another war that takes place in the court of public opinion.

"It is important from the Ukrainian point of view that their struggle against the Russian invasion receives public support."

Ukraine's President spoke to student societies over video-link and urged them to help rebuild his country once victory was assured.

He talked about how he felt about Finland and Sweden gaining Nato membership.

Mr Zelenskyy said: "First of all, I'd like to say I'm very happy for Finland and Sweden.

"I believe that's a very wise choice, although unfortunately that choice was made because of the war that started in Ukraine."

"It will help them to defend their people in case of Russian aggression."

He added that if Ukraine had been able to join Nato, "that would be able to save a lot of lives".

"Throughout my presidentship, I clearly understand and understood that every war has to finish at the table of negotiations and I understand that diplomacy can save lives, I understand this," he said.

"But unfortunately the president of Russian Federation doesn't understand this, and that's it."

As territory was regained, he said: "We will start rebuilding all the educational institutions... so that people can go back to school, back to kindergarten, school, university for the students."

"When we will be victorious, we will build a new country... you're something like 20 years old, 19 years old - you're a young person, a student - I can't build a comfortable state for you without you.

"You are representing our state - you are ambassadors of our academy here," he told the students.

Professor Dimitris Papadimitriou said: "It was an amazing exchange for our students first and foremost, it is not very often that they get to speak with wartime leaders.

"The questions that were asked were interesting and the answers we received were informal and also informative."

The President of the Ukrainian Society, Mariia Horb, said: “We were excited to speak to our President at such difficult time and unite our voices with the struggle of the people of Ukraine”.