Zelensky administration dismisses Biden’s claim Ukraine ignored warnings of attack

11 June, 06:11 PM
Mykhailo Podolyak (Photo:Office of the President of Ukraine)

Mykhailo Podolyak (Photo:Office of the President of Ukraine)

Ukraine has fired back at claims by U.S. President Joe Biden that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky “didn’t want to hear” about evidence of an impending Russian invasion of Ukraine ahead of the Feb. 24 attack.

Presidential spokesman Sergiy Nikiforov told news Ukrainian outlet LIGA.net gave the official position of the Ukrainian President’s Office regarding Biden’s claim.

According to Nikiforov, Zelensky had asked for preventive sanctions against Russia before the large-scale Russian invasion, but Ukraine’s partners "did not want to hear it."

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The spokesman noted that at that time the Ukrainian leader had had threeor four telephone conversations with Biden: the two heads of state exchanged views and assessments of the situation in detail.

"Therefore, the phrase 'did not want to hear' probably needs clarification,” Nikiforov said.

“In addition, if you remember, the President of Ukraine called on (Ukraine’s) partners to introduce a package of preventive sanctions to encourage Russia to withdraw troops and de-escalate the situation. And here it is us who can actually say that our partners ‘did not want to hear us.’"

Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to the head of the President's Office, also told LIGA.net that it was "pointless" to accuse Ukraine of anything.

“Of course, this (Biden's words — ed.) is not quite so,” Podolyak said.

“We understood perfectly well that Russia was developing different expansionism scenarios. (President) Volodymyr Zelensky constantly had the appropriate analytical reports on his desk, which were based on high-quality intelligence. The president also responded carefully to all the words and warnings of our partners.”

Podolyak said that Kyiv understood the intentions of the Russians and "was preparing for one or another aggressive scenario."

However, he noted, there was doubt over the scope of the invasion. According to him, the intensity of the Russian attacks throughout Ukraine could not have been predicted, and there is no doubt that the scale of the invasion shocked many countries, including Ukraine's partners.

"But what is important is the speed with which the government implemented a war economy, and the almost lightning-fast recovery of our country from the state of shock,” Podolyak said.

“Finally, it seems to me that it is pointless to accuse a country that has been effectively fighting for more than 100 days in a full-fledged war against a much more powerful opponent, while key countries have failed to curb Russia's militaristic appetites, (although) being fully aware of them.”

Ahead of its full-scale invasion, Russia had been deploying troops close to Ukraine's borders since late Oct. 2021.

Kyiv's Western partners were concerned about possible plans for a large-scale Russian invasion and threatened to impose tough sanctions on Moscow.

In a speech on Feb. 18, U.S. President Joe Biden said the United States had reason to believe that Russia was planning an attack in the coming days or within a week, and would "target the Ukrainian capital Kyiv."

Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24. June 11 is the 108th day of full-scale war. The invading forces tried to advance from the north, east and south, shelling peaceful cities throughout Ukraine using artillery, and bombing them from the air.

At the initial stage of the invasion, the most difficult situations were seen in Kyiv, Kharkiv, Chernihiv, Sumy, and Mariupol. For more than a month, Russia shelled Kyiv and the outskirts of the capital, completely destroying a number of settlements.

At the moment, the Russian invaders are trying to capture those territories of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts that have been under Ukrainian governmental control since the beginning of the war in 2014.

Before the Russian invaders started shelling settlements in the Donbas, the Ukrainian authorities urged all residents to evacuate.

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