Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelensky has received a wave of criticism at home after an interview with The Washington Post. In it, he said earlier this week that he received “grim warnings” from the United States last fall about a war threat from Russia, but did not make them public “for fear that Ukrainians would leave the country en masse”.
The American newspaper published the interview on Tuesday and writes that the criticism increased during the week. Ukrainian citizens are said to have expressed their displeasure on social media and according to The Post, academics say, among other things, that the president “because of this also bears some responsibility for the Russian atrocities”.
Zelenski said in the interview with the newspaper that he feared “panic and a massive refugee influx” that could result in “economic collapse” if he shared the warnings of the American intelligence services with the public. “Since October last year, we would have lost $7 billion a month and the moment the Russians attacked, they would have defeated us in three days,” Zelensky said.
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That Russian troops were unable to reach the capital Kiev proves, according to Zelensky, that he made the “right decision”. “Most Ukrainians stayed here and fought for their homeland. As cynical as it may sound, those are the people who stopped the invaders,” the Ukrainian president said.
The fact that Zelensky has “put the economy above the well-being of Ukrainians” is something many residents object to. They believe that many fatalities could have been prevented if the population had been adequately prepared for the war, writes The Post. Others defend Zelensky, who was left in Kiev at the risk of his own life when the Russians invaded his country. According to the newspaper, they wonder why blood banks were not established or trenches were dug on the border with Russia in preparation for the approaching war.
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