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An opposition member of Ukraine's parliament on the Russian invasion


The battle for Kyiv is underway. Russian troops have entered the capital of Ukraine, but Ukrainians are fighting back. Ukraine's Defense Ministry has told citizens to make Molotov cocktails. Well, this got me thinking about a conversation I had in Kyiv four weeks ago. I'd gone to meet a member of Parliament, Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze, at her office, and she told me she was thinking of getting a gun to defend her country.

IVANNA KLYMPUSH-TSINTSADZE: I am thinking right now if I should get a permit for a weapon.

KELLY: I called Klympush-Tsintsadze earlier today. She told me she got that gun.

KLYMPUSH-TSINTSADZE: Yesterday, there was a decision that MPs can go and get guns, so I did.

KELLY: I asked, where is she now?

KLYMPUSH-TSINTSADZE: I am outside of the city of Kyiv I think in a safe place at this particular moment, but things around Kyiv have been very, very difficult. We are seeing a lot of shelling, a lot of fighting, a lot of bombing. Rockets are being shot at orphanages, kindergartens. Civilians are being wounded. And that's not to mention what is going on among the military.

KELLY: Yeah. So I'm just trying to figure out what - what your day looks like, what the coming days might look like. Do you have a plan to leave if things get worse?

KLYMPUSH-TSINTSADZE: Well, people are advising that, but that's because people are thinking that Russia is having the lists of those people who have been pushing back on their attack on Ukraine. They are probably under additional danger, and that's why I get advised to leave.

KELLY: You chair the committee in Parliament on Europe, on Ukraine's relationship with Europe. And when I met you last time, you were very hopeful that allies in Europe and the U.S. would stand with Ukraine if war came. Now that war is there, do you feel friends of Ukraine? Do you feel allies standing with you?

KLYMPUSH-TSINTSADZE: We had more expectations on the quick, prompt and really devastating action from the West that would immediately impact Putin, who has gone probably totally mad.

KELLY: Do you believe Ukraine will win this war?

KLYMPUSH-TSINTSADZE: It will depend on so many things. It will depend on first and foremost on capacity, capability and resolve of our armed forces, on our people. And we cannot win this war alone. It depends on very, very serious actions that are to be taken every single day against Putin and against this bloody criminal.

KELLY: When I met you last month, you told me your daughter, who is 15, was pushing you to be a mom first and a politician second, that she was saying, promise me, promise me first and foremost you will take care of me. How are you doing on that? Because I hear you wanting to defend your country and also protect your daughters.

KLYMPUSH-TSINTSADZE: Yes. I did make sure that daughters are not inside the city. And so my younger daughter, she will be 16 this Monday.

KELLY: Aw (ph).

KLYMPUSH-TSINTSADZE: And unfortunately, I will not be able to see her on that day and to hug her. I hope that there will be connection, so at least we can talk over the internet.

KELLY: Yeah. That's hard. Sweet 16 birthday.

KLYMPUSH-TSINTSADZE: Yes. I really promised her that if there will be the tiniest, tiniest possibility for me to be nearby, I will be, but I see it's not coming.

KELLY: Yeah. It sounds like you're still struggling to do - to be responsible to all the people that you need to be responsible with - your family and your country.

KLYMPUSH-TSINTSADZE: That's - that's how life is combines right now here.

KELLY: Yeah. We've been speaking with Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze. She's a member of Parliament. We reached her on the line outside the capital, Kyiv. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.