Volodymyr Zelensky’s aides hit back at Joe Biden’s remarks that Ukraine’s president ‘didn’t want to hear it’ when US intelligence alerted him that Russia was planning an invasion and called it ‘absurd “.
Ukraine’s presidential adviser Mykhailo Podoliak slammed Mr Biden for blaming Ukraine while Mr Zelensky’s spokesman Sergei Nikiforov said the remark ‘probably needs to be clarified’ as it is their partners who do not ignored Ukraine’s concerns.
Mr Nikiforov told Ukrainian Russian-language media League that Mr. Zelensky had “three or four phone conversations” with Mr. Biden before the war began, during which they exchanged “detailed” assessments of the situation.
He also said that it was Ukraine that demanded preemptive measures to put Russia on its feet, but that “our partners…didn’t want to listen to us.”
“Therefore, the phrase ‘didn’t want to hear’ probably needs to be clarified,” he told the outlet.
“Furthermore, if you recall, the President of Ukraine called on his partners to introduce a set of pre-emptive sanctions in order to encourage Russia to withdraw its troops and de-escalate the situation.”
“Here we can already say that our partners ‘didn’t want to hear us’,” Nikiforov said.
Mr Podoliak told the same outlet that Mr Zelensky was constantly in talks about Russia’s intentions and said Mr Biden’s comments were “not entirely true”.
Mr Podoliak said Kyiv was “well aware that Russia was developing various expansion scenarios”.
“Volodymyr Zelensky constantly had an analyst on the table based on high quality intelligence. The president also responded carefully to all the comments and warnings from our partners. The question was always: what will be the scope of the invasion?
“And finally, the key, I think there is no point in blaming the country, which is more than 100 days [into] a full-fledged war against a much more resourceful adversary, if key countries failed to check the militaristic appetites of the Russian Federation, knowing them well,” Podoliak said, according to independent Russian media. Interfax.
“Without a doubt, the volume of the invasion, which we saw on February 24, shocked many countries, including our partners,” Podoliak added.
Addressing donors at a Democratic fundraiser on Friday, the US president said Mr Zelensky ‘didn’t want to hear it’ when US intelligence picked up reports that Russia was preparing to invade .
“Nothing like this has happened since World War II,” Mr Biden said. “I know a lot of people thought maybe I was exaggerating. But I knew we had data to maintain [Russian President Vladimir Putin] was about to enter, beyond the border. There was no doubt. And Zelensky didn’t want to hear it.
Mr. Biden was talking about his work to rally and solidify support for Ukraine as the war continues into its fourth month.
Although Mr. Zelensky inspired people with his leadership during the war, his readiness for invasion – or lack thereof – has remained a contentious issue.
In the weeks before the war began on Feb. 24, Mr. Zelensky publicly bristled when Biden administration officials repeatedly warned that a Russian invasion was very likely.
At the time, Mr. Zelensky also feared that the drumbeat of war could disrupt Ukraine’s fragile economy.
Additional reports by agencies
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