Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the United States had been a generous "strategic partner" but had not lived up to past commitments to guarantee Ukraine's security. The U.S. had given Ukraine "very strong support," he said. But the 1994 Budapest Memorandum guaranteeing Ukrainian sovereignty had proven to be just "a piece of paper," he said.

Appearing on the April 3 broadcast of NBC's "Meet the Press," Zelensky was asked about his most recent conversation with U.S. President Joe Biden. Journalist Margaret Brennan asked whether Zelensky had received "concrete promises" that the United States and NATO would not allow Ukraine to be invaded again.

He said the U.S. had "not provided the security guarantees to us." He referred to the Budapest Memorandum in which Ukraine had agreed to give up its Soviet-era nuclear weapons in exchange for security guarantees from the United States, Britain and Russia. The written promises had not amounted to anything, he said. "We have given away our nuclear power and it was just a piece of paper," Zelensky said. "So, we don't believe in papers any longer."

Baltic nations in fear

The Ukrainian leader said he was looking for "legal, powerful guarantees" which detailed how his country would be protected and what preventative measures would be taken. He said the Baltic Nations did not feel safe from a Russian invasion despite their NATO membership.

"They are not confident that tomorrow the world will protect them from Russia if anything happens," Zelensky said.

He told Brennan that his country was facing genocide at the hands of the Russian Federation. He said his country could not have anticipated Russian President Vladimir Putin's "maniac type of decision to just destroy the whole nation."

'We are being destroyed and exterminated'

When asked whether he believed that Russia's actions during the War in Ukraine amounted to genocide, Zelensky said, "Indeed, this is genocide." Ukraine's refusal to yield to Russia was "the reason we are being destroyed and exterminated," he said.

Later that day, The New York Times reported that Zelensky had announced the creation of a "special mechanism of justice" for investigating war crimes carried out by Russia.

The paper said that, shortly before the announcement, the Ukrainian government had reported finding the bodies of at least 410 civilians killed in communities surrounding Kyiv.

Zelensky addresses audience at Grammy Awards

That evening, the Ukrainian leader addressed the audience at the Grammy Awards in a pre-taped video message. He said the opposite of music was "the silence of ruined cities and killed people." He urged the audience to help Ukraine "in any way you can."