Zelensky asserted that NATO had a responsibility to "make it impossible for Russia to use nuclear weapons" during a question and answer session with Australian think tank Lowy Institute.
"Preemptive strikes are needed so that they know what awaits them if they use nuclear weapons. Not the other way around, waiting for Russia's nuclear strikes and then saying, 'oh, you've done that, then get this,'" he said, adding that NATO "should reconsider how it uses its pressure." (Related: Ukraine's Zelensky called for NATO strikes on Russia, raising new fears WWIII is on the horizon.)
This caused alarm worldwide, contributing to the growing panic over a looming nuclear war. Even President Joe Biden warned his fellow Democrats and the entire United States of an impending "Armageddon." Russia also dubbed Zelensky a "monster" for the chaos his statements may cause.
"Everyone on the planet must realize that Zelensky, a puppet pumped with weapons, has turned into a monster whose hands could destroy the planet," Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a social media post.
Now, Kyiv is scrambling to take back Zelensky's comments. Zelensky's Press Secretary Serhii Nykyforov blamed the international media for reporting them, alleging media outlets had published "incorrect" interpretations of the president's remarks.
Zelensky claimed to British broadcaster BBC that he said, "You must use preventive kicks, not attacks" – apparently referring to sanctions and suggesting a "lost in translation" incident.
"The president spoke about the period before February 24. At that time, it was necessary to apply preventive measures to prevent Russia from starting a war. Let me remind you that the only measures that were discussed at that time were preemptive sanctions," Nykyforov posted on social media.
Critics are saying that Zelensky's comments are consistent with the way he deals with conflict generally in the past. He previously expressed outrage after Biden decided to lift sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project, which would have greatly increased Russia's ability to sell natural gas to Europe.
He made similar remarks back in June when asked about China's repeated threats to invade Taiwan. "If there is a way out diplomatically, we need to use the diplomatic way. But it must be a preemptive way, not the one that comes after the war has started." Zelensky said.
After the "misquoted" declaration last week, Zelensky made a declaration Monday, October 10, that Ukrainians cannot be intimidated by "terrorists" after 11 people were killed when Putin's troops dropped missiles across the country.
"The Russian army purposely struck these blows precisely during the morning rush hour. This is the typical tactic of terrorists. They wanted to instill more fear," he said.
The airstrikes came after the Crimean Bridge, a vital supply line for troops fighting to hold onto territory in Ukraine's south, was damaged in a blast. Putin called the incident Ukraine's "act of terrorism" and warned that he will react "harshly" to future Ukrainian attacks on Russian targets.
The recent missile strikes were the most widespread since the start of the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Biden has offered advanced air defense systems in a call with Zelensky.
A White House statement was released saying Biden "expressed his condemnation of the missile strikes and conveyed his condolences to the loved ones of those killed and injured in these senseless attacks." He pledged to continue providing Ukraine with the support needed to defend itself.
The statement did not specify which air defense systems were discussed, but the U.S. previously committed to providing Ukraine with National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems.
Visit WWIII.news for more news related to the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine and a potential nuclear war.
Watch the below video where Zelensky backtracks his previous "pre-emptive" attacks request.
This video is from the High Hopes channel on Brighteon.com.