US President Joe Biden said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy tuned out warnings that Russia would invade his country in the lead-up to the February 24 attack.
“I know a lot of people thought I was maybe exaggerating, but I knew, and we had data to sustain, he was going in off the border.
There was no doubt. And Zelenskyy didn’t want to hear it, nor did a lot of people,” Biden said Friday during a political fundraiser in Los Angeles.
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The president acknowledged that the possibility of Russian President Vladimir Putin launching a full-scale invasion may have seemed far-fetched, saying, “I understand why they didn’t want to hear it.”
Biden accused Putin of “trying to obliterate the culture, not just the nation, but the culture of Ukraine” and said the Russian leader sees the capital of Kyiv as “the seat of mother Russia.”
Russia’s military failed to capture Kyiv but has made advances in Ukraine’s south and east, where Putin hopes to capture all of the Donbas region.
Ukraine’s military has mounted counterattacks outside the city of Kharkiv in the north and in the region around the occupied city of Kherson in the south.
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