During his speech, Biden also stated that his administration had warned Zelensky and the Ukrainian government, based on US intelligence, before the invasion began.
“I know a lot of people thought I might be exaggerating,” the president said, according to the Associated Press.
Biden said he “knew we had data to support” that Russian President Vladimir Putin would “go off limits.”
“There was no doubt, and Zelensky didn’t want to hear it, and not many people did,” Biden said, according to Bloomberg. “I understand why they didn’t want to hear that, but [Putin] went in.”
But Ukrainian officials dismissed Biden’s account.
Serhiy Nikiforov, spokesman for Zelensky, Tell Ukrainian news website LIGA.net reported that Zelensky had three or four phone conversations with Biden in the run-up to the invasion, in which the two leaders discussed the situation. He added that Ukraine had called for preventive sanctions to calm the situation.
Therefore, the phrase “I do not want to hear” probably needs clarification,” said Nikiforov.
Zelensky’s advisor, Mikhailo Podolyak, echoed Nikiforov’s words LIGA.net Ukraine knew that Russia was planning an invasion, but these questions remained above the scale of any attack.
“It is absurd to accuse a country of resisting the aggressor for more than 100 days, which prevails if major countries fail to stop Russia as a precaution,” he said.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment early Saturday.
Biden’s comments come at a time when Ukraine is on the verge of collapse Loss of the eastern region of Luhansk to Russia, warning that its superior army was in dire need of faster Western arms shipments. The governor of Luhansk city said Saturday that fierce street fighting continues in the strategic city of Severodonetsk, but that “most of the city is controlled by the Russians.”
Kyiv’s European allies have pledged to ramp up military aid – up to the same number looks hesitant About Ukraine’s bid for EU membership. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen arrived in Kyiv on Saturday to discuss Ukraine’s candidacy for the European Union with Zelensky ahead of an expected recommendation from the Commission on Ukraine’s status next week.
With the United States and its allies focused on planning a longer war in Ukraine, Biden made no secret that Americans would continue to support Zelensky and the Ukrainian people with aid and weapons. Senate recently Passed successfully The bill includes $20 billion in military aid and is expected to fund the transfer of advanced weapons systems, such as Patriot anti-aircraft missiles and long-range artillery. Also included were more than $8 billion in general economic support for Ukraine, about $5 billion in global food aid to address potential food shortages caused by the collapse of Ukraine’s agricultural economy, and more than $1 billion in combined support for refugees.
Biden recently confirmed that his administration was sending advanced medium-range missile systems to Ukraine, in response to a The highest request of Ukrainian officials Who say that weapons are necessary to stop the advance of Russian forces in the east. Biden’s announcement sparked an angry reaction from Kremlin officials, who said they “believe the United States deliberately and diligently” poured fuel on the fire.”
But before the invasion, some wondered if Zelensky was ready for the Russian attack.
As senior US and European officials sounded the alarm in January that Putin might send troops and tanks across the border, The Ukrainian leader had called for calm He appealed to his compatriots not to give in to panic. Zelensky has said – repeatedly – that he is not convinced that a Russian attack is imminent.
“Take a breath,” he said in a video posted on his official website on January 19. “just chill”.
In acknowledging a possible Russian attack earlier this year, Zelensky tried to avoid “panic in the markets and panic in the financial sector,” as he put it, knowing that a possible war would be worrying for the Ukrainian economy.
On Friday evening, Biden again criticized Putin, who he blamed on some historical inflation in the United States. Biden accused the Russian president of “trying to obliterate… [Ukrainian] Culture, not just the nation, but the culture,” according to Bloomberg.
Podolak said Interfax The Ukrainian government recognized the possibility of the invasion.
“Ukraine understood the intentions of the Russians, foresaw one or another aggressive scenario, and prepared for it,” he said.
He added that Zelensky had “high-quality intelligence” before the invasion and that the scale of the attack surprised not only Ukraine but the world.
The President has also responded carefully to all our partners’ words and warnings. The question was always what would the scope of the invasion be? “Undoubtedly, the scale of the invasion, which we witnessed on February 24, shocked many countries, including our partners,” Podolak said.
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