A report by the BBC's Jaroslav Lukiv expounded on the Ukrainian leader's annoyance. Zelensky expressed his sentiment during a Nov. 4 press conference in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, which was graced by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. According to the comedian-turned-president, Russian President Vladimir Putin was the mastermind behind the scheme to divert attention and funds away from the beleaguered Eastern European country.
"It's clear that the war in the Middle East is taking away the focus [from Ukraine]," said Zelensky. "One of the goals [of Moscow]" is for this focus to be "weakened," he added. Nevertheless, the Ukrainian leader emphasized that "everything is in our powers."
He also brushed off claims by Gen. Valerii Zaluzhnyi, commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, that the war was now moving to a "positional" or static stage. This would subsequently be of benefit to Moscow by "allowing it to rebuild its military power," Zaluzhnyi added. "Everyone is getting tired and there are different options, but this is not a stalemate," Zelensky remarked.
The Ukrainian president also admitted that Russia was "controlling the skies" during the press briefing. Thus, he took the opportunity to panhandle – reiterating that Kyiv urgently needed U.S.-made F-16 fighter jets and advanced anti-aircraft defenses to change the situation.
Zelensky also rejected claims that he was coming under growing pressure to consider negotiations with Russia, commenting that such talks "will not happen." According to him, neither the U.S. government nor the European Union is pressuring Kyiv to "sit down, negotiate with Russia, and give away something to it." (Related: Russian foreign minister Lavrov claims West has prevented Ukraine from taking part in peace talks, now 'almost in a real war' with his country.)
The Ukrainian president echoed this gripe during a Nov. 5 interview on the NBC News program "Meet The Press."
"Of course, Russia understands that now, when [the] focus [on] Ukraine [is] taken off and … [shifts] to the Middle East; when they try to divide the world in … [the] Israel-Palestine crisis, … Russia is very happy with this war," Zelensky told program host Kristen Welker. "They just want to divide the world, [and] to take focus from Ukraine to another war."
He also thanked U.S. President Joe Biden during the interview, citing his February visit to Ukraine and his unrelenting monetary support for Kyiv – at the expense of American taxpayers.
"I'm really thankful [for] Biden; by the way, he was here – and I think he's a strong man. It was a historical moment. He's a hero because he was, in those moments, under a Russian missile attack. He understood more about Ukraine; yes, he knew Ukraine even before this invasion."
Zelensky's mood changed, however, when Welker mentioned former U.S. President Donald Trump's plan to end the Russia-Ukraine war. The real estate mogul-turned-chief executive claimed he could end the war in 24 hours, even promising it if elected for a second term in 2024.
"I invite [former] President Trump," the Ukrainian leader remarked. "If he can come here, I will need 24 minutes –yes, 24 minutes, not more – to explain … that he can't manage this war. He can't bring peace because of Putin."
"How dare the Gaza conflict steal the attention away from the war in Ukraine," wrote award-winning children's television creator Laura Wellington for the Western Journal. "Zelensky is all too aware that support for Ukraine has waned after more than 600 days of war. Ultimately, [he] hopes his Western allies – including the U.S. – won't forget about him and will continue to fund his war until the bitter end, despite the additional distraction."
Head over to UkraineWitness.com for more stories about the conflict in Ukraine.
Watch this clip from "The Jimmy Dore Show" about Ukraine and Israel bickering over who gets American aid money.
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