“The fight is here; I need ammunition, not a round,” Zelenskyy told the Americans when they offered to evacuate, according to a message released by the Ukrainian Embassy in the UK, which added: “Ukrainians are proud of their president.”
Zelenskyy, 44, a former comedian turned politician, is fast gaining the halo of a cult hero after changing from civilian to military uniform on Friday to fight in defense of Kiev. Posts and memes celebrating his courage and commitment have erupted on social media, with unflattering comparisons to leaders in the United States and other countries, who are chased by their security details at the first sign of danger.
While right-wing commentators in the United States pillory President Biden for retiring early every day and going on weekends to Delaware amid the crisis, the left humiliates Donald Trump for his golf outings, reminding his fans how the obese former president gave up enlistment by invoking bone spurs.
“Republicans are so excited about Biden heading to Delaware this weekend to attend a family funeral and meet with his national security team, you’d think he was playing golf every weekend for a while. pandemic while charging us $650/night for the Secret Service to sleep at his resorts,” a post sneered.
Meanwhile, the world holds its breath to see if Zelenskyy’s decision is raw courage or bravado/recklessness. In the pro-Russian narrative, Zelenskyy is seen as a CIA stooge.
According to some accounts, the CIA warned him as early as January that he was in Russia’s crosshairs. CIA Director William Burns visited Moscow and Kiev on January 17-18 to mediate between the two sides as Russia began its military buildup.
But Zelenskyy refused to believe that he and his family – his wife Olena Zelenska, an architect and screenwriter, a teenage daughter and a young son – would be targeted.
In fact, he remained optimistic until the time of the invasion, frequently criticizing the United States and its allies for being alarmist.
He even rejected Washington’s advice not to leave Kyiv to attend the Munich security conference last week, amid US fears Russia could stage a coup in his absence.
For once, the CIA has acquitted itself well so far, accurately predicting that Russia is going down to the smallest detail, with the Biden White House aggressively releasing intelligence on an unprecedented scale to shame or prevent the invasion.
“President Joe Biden and U.S. officials got the intelligence right: they said Russia would invade Ukraine, despite Russian assurances to the contrary. , misinformation about preparing for war in Iraq and many other errors, this is a significant moment for the American intelligence community,” CNN noted in a review.
It now turns out that the CIA has been working for months to avert the crisis, with Burns traveling to Moscow in November 2021 for meetings with Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev and Foreign Intelligence Service chief Sergey Naryshkin. amid growing tensions.