President Joe Biden’s bizarre attack on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky came during a Democratic fundraiser in Los Angeles. Officials pushed back on his comments, calling the accusation “absurd”.
Biden was speaking about the US’s efforts to rally the world behind Ukraine when he suddenly turned to Zelensky, according to the New York Post.
“Nothing like this has happened since World War II. I know a lot of people thought I was maybe exaggerating. But I knew we had data to sustain [Russia] was going to go in, off the border.”
“There was no doubt,” Biden said. “And Zelensky didn’t want to hear it.”
Ukrainian officials quickly responded to Biden’s claim.
Adviser Mykhailo Podolia blamed Biden and other world leaders for their refusal to preemptively impose sanctions as Russian President Vladimir Putin amassed his troops, calling his accusation “absurd”.
He defended Zelenky’s handling of the situation, which he described as complicated.
“Undoubtedly, the volume of the invasion, which we saw on February 24, shocked many countries, including our partners. Volodymyr Zelensky constantly had an analyst on the table based on high-quality intelligence. The President also responded carefully to all the words and warnings of our partners. The question was always: what will be the scope of the invasion?”
Zelensky spokesman Sergei Nikiforov said the two presidents spoke “three or four” times by phone leading up to the invasion, swapping “detailed” assessments.
“In addition, if you remember, the President of Ukraine called on partners to impose a package of preventive sanctions to encourage Russia to withdraw troops and de-escalate the situation. And here we can say that our partners ‘did not want to hear us,’” said Nikiforov.