Ukrainian officials dispute Biden’s claim that Zelenskyy ‘didn’t want to hear’ warnings that Putin would invade
- Multiple Ukrainian officials have spoken out against President Joe Biden’s remarks on Friday.
- Biden said Ukrainian President Zelenskyy “didn’t want to hear” US warnings about a Russian invasion.
- Two Ukrainian officials told the media on Saturday that it wasn’t true.
Ukrainian officials are pushing back on President Joe Biden’s claim that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy “didn’t want to hear” US warnings about a looming Russian invasion.
On Friday, Biden told California donors that prior to the full-scale invasion, the US presented Zelenskyy with intelligence that Russian President Vladimir Putin was planning to attack.
“There was no doubt,” Biden said. “And Zelenskyy didn’t want to hear it.”
On Saturday, Ukrainian officials said Biden’s comments were incorrect.
“The phrase ‘did not want to hear’ probably needs clarification,” Ukrainian presidential spokesman Sergei Nikiforov told the Ukrainian news outlet LIGA.net.
Nikiforov told LIGA.net that Zelenskyy and Biden had multiple telephone conversations before the Russian invasion in which the two leaders spoke frankly about the threat Russia posed.
Nikiforov said Zelenskyy requested preventative sanctions in anticipation of the invasion and hoped Ukraine’s allies would help encourage Russia to de-escalate and withdraw troops.
“Here we can already say that our partners ‘did not want to hear us,'” Nikiforov said.
Another Ukrainian official, Mykhailo Podoliak, an adviser to Zelenskyy, told LIGA.net that Biden’s words were “not quite true” and said Ukraine was preparing for a number of “aggressive” scenarios involving Russia.
“We understood perfectly well that Russia is developing different scenarios of expansion.”
Russia ultimately launched its invasion on February 24 and has recently been making progress towards capturing the Donbas and Luhansk regions. Ukraine, meanwhile, has retained control of its major cities, including Kyiv and Kharkiv.
Ukraine has pleaded with Western nations in recent days and weeks to provide more weapons to ensure the nation’s survival. Reports have indicated Ukraine is sustaining significant losses amid the fighting and that Russian forces are equipped with exponentially more weapons and artillery.