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Transcript: Ukrainian Ambassador Oksana Markarova on “Face the Nation”, July 24, 2022

The following is a transcript of an interview with Ukraine’s Ambassador to the United States, Oksana Markarova, which aired Sunday, July 24, 2022 on “Face the Nation”.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Today marks five months since Russia launched a full-scale war against Ukraine. The invasion claimed tens of thousands of lives and disrupted the global economy. To see where the fight is at, we are joined by Ukraine’s Ambassador to the United States, Oksana Makarova. Madam Ambassador, it’s good to see you back on the program.

AMBASSADOR OKSANA MARKAROVA: Hello and thank you for having me.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I want to ask you what happened in the last 24 to 48 hours, there’s about 20 million metric tons of grain stuck in Ukraine – impossible to get out. This contributes to inflation and food shortages around the world. Thus, less than 24 hours after the signing of this UN brokerage agreement to allow the export of Ukrainian cereals, Russia sent missiles to the port city of Odessa where these cereals would transit. That’s what the State Department says. Your government said it was like spitting in the face of the UN in Turkey. But you stick to the deal. Why?

AMB. MARKAROVA: Well, what happened in the port is so Russian, and it’s very telling of what’s happened in the last eight years. Over the past eight years, Ukraine has always acted in good faith and tried everything possible and sometimes impossible to end the war. And make our sovereignty similar to those 151 days. We defend, we stand firm to defend our country. And at the same time, we will find all the options to get out of the crisis. It’s like this food crisis that Russia created for other countries, not just Ukraine. We will therefore do everything to accomplish and fulfill our part of the market. Now when Russia violates it, they make it clear who they are and that they need to be stopped.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So is Russia technically violating it? Because unnamed UN officials are quoted as having said so, they may not have done so because Russia never pledged to avoid attacking parts of Ukrainian ports that are not not directly used for grain exports. Oh good? Seems like a pretty big oversight?

AMB. MARKAROVA: Well, let’s call it that. Everything Russia does in Ukraine is a violation of almost all international laws, taking a sovereign country is a violation. It is a war crime. So we have an agreement with the UN and with our colleagues in Turkey. We fulfill the agreement. They also agreed with Russia, and they have to stop the war first, you know, and they have to do everything without even any sign of initiative. But with that, I think they’re showing their true colors again. So the right answer to that should be more weapons to Ukraine so that we can defend ourselves, we can get them out of our country. And we can unblock our ports. And unlock all of Ukraine so you can not only ship grain, but sunflowers and everything that has been blocked in Ukraine.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right, it’s impacting your baby formula which is impacting food stocks for everything, but- but does this attack make this food crisis worse? Will it hurt your ability to export the little that comes out?

AMB. MARKAROVA: We will do everything we can and we are exporting even now through the western border, of course, the capacity —

MARGARET BRENNAN: – across the earth

AMB. MARKAROVA: – by land, by rail, by any means possible and we will continue to do so. Our farmers plant and harvest even under fire. So we are going as we are defending the country, we will also continue to rebuild at the same time and plant and do everything to feed ourselves and feed the world. Hopefully, and we are already seeing good results from the new HIMARS and artillery provided to us, this will allow us to go on the counteroffensive and liberate our territory, which we must do not only for grain, but also to save our people.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So your First Lady was here in Washington and went to Congress and specifically asked for air defense systems. We know that the United States has committed to sending domestic advanced surface-to-air missile systems, but they have not yet arrived in Ukraine. Is that what she was referring to? And what exactly are you asking for?

AMB. MARKAROVA: Yes, very effective visit from the First Lady. And his message that Russia kills, America saves, I think, was heard by everyone here. And yes, we are talking about the NASAMS and other defense systems. We also talk about more firepower, more artillery, more HIMARS, of which last Friday we heard the announcement of more to come –

MARGARET BRENNAN: These are precision-guided rockets.

AMB. MARKAROVA: Exactly. And we can already see it with this equipment which is very well used by our defenders. We are able to destroy the ammunition dumps that Russia creates on the uncontrolled territories, and which we actually move freely to more territories in the south and hopefully with a sufficient number of weapons. We can do the same in the east, but the situation is still very, very difficult.

MARGARET BRENNAN: It does and we now know that US intelligence says Russia controls about 20%…

AMB. MARKAROVA: That’s right.

MARGARET BRENNAN: — from Ukraine. I want to make sure to tell you about it because it was so disturbing when I heard it. A State Department official, Ambassador Toria Nuland, said, “Russia makes orphans and then steals orphans. She said up to 1,000 Ukrainian children had been stolen and given to Russian families. What exactly is happening? What can the US government or the American people do about this?

AMB. MARKAROVA: This was one of the main pleas of the First Lady here in all the uncontrolled territories from Mariupol to other places, Russia is forcibly deporting not only adults and families, but especially children. And the Russians themselves have already admitted that 350,000 children were evacuated, as they say, but kidnapped, let’s call it that – what it is for Russia. They relaxed their own legislation to allow them to be adopted quickly into Russian families. This is a brutal violation not only of international law but of common decency, how can you steal our children and try to hide them somewhere in Russia, only 47 children we were able to return to Ukraine at this time. And from April-August 1, Ukraine will launch a platform, Children at War, which will allow people from all over the world, including Russia, to add information about all children, our first priority is locate them, find them and return them. their. And it is very difficult because we have no control over these territories.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And do you have any hope that you can actually get these kids back without the United States or other countries getting involved?

AMB. MARKAROVA: We need everyone who can get involved. And I can assure you that everyone in Ukraine will not rest until they are all located and returned.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Ambassador, thank you very much for your time. We’ll be back in a moment.


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