Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the sudden death of Russian President Vladimir Putin would bring an end to the war between the two nations.
Zelenskyy was being interviewed by former late-night TV host David Letterman, who asked the Ukranian president: "Let's just say that Putin got a really bad cold and died. Or accidentally fell out of a window and died. Would this continue?"
"No," Zelenskyy said. "There would be no war. There wouldn't be."
Putin began Russia's unprovoked attack on Ukraine in late-February.
It was reported Monday that Putin canceled his annual end-of-year press conference, causing speculation that he's in failing health.
Letterman interviewed Zelenskyy in October for his Netflix show "My Next Guest Needs No Introduction."
Zelenskyy told Letterman that Putin's death would end the war because Russia's political system gives the president so much power.
"The authoritarian regime is dangerous as it poses great risks. Because you can't allow just one person to have total control over everything. That's why when such a person is gone, institutions come to a halt," said Zelenskyy, speaking during an interview conducted on a Kyiv subway platform.
"That's what happened back in the Soviet Union. Everything collapsed. And that's why I think if he's gone, it will be hard for them. They will have to deal with their internal policy, rather than foreign issues."
Zelenskyy said that "quite a large percentage" of Russians are not living in reality and believe Putin's claims about how the war is going.
Other Russians, Zelenskyy added, are "aware of the reality," but afraid to act.
Zelenskyy also spoke about the toll the war is taking on Ukrainian families, including his.
"We have no need to explain anything about victory to our children. Trust me, they know more about the war than we do," he told Letterman. "My son is 9 years old. He knows the names of all the weapons. And he didn't learn them from me.
"They are deeply immersed in the war."
Zelenskyy, though, did not seem overly melancholy as he spoke.
"On the one hand, Putin stole childhood from our children," he said. "But on the other hand, we can say, that each of us should make sacrifices for the sake of our country. Our children sacrificed their childhood."
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