Zelensky: World ‘Shifting’ to Help Israel Is Hurting Ukraine’s War

KYIV, UKRAINE - AUGUST 23: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy attends the 3rd Crimea
GIL COHEN-MAGEN/AFP via Getty Images, Ercin Erturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told the Associated Press in an interview published Friday that “only the blind” cannot see that his country has lost attention and support following the Hamas atrocities against Israel on October 7, which prompted an ongoing war to eradicate the terrorist organization.

Zelensky promised he would “fight for attention” for his war against Russia, particularly in the United States, where he warned “there may be weakness” in the will of Congress to spend more money on weapons for his country.

Ukraine has been at war with Russia in some form since at least 2014 when the regime of strongman Vladimir Putin began supporting separatists in the nation’s eastern Donbass region in guerrilla warfare efforts against Kyiv.

In February 2022, Putin announced that the Russian military would formally invade Ukraine for a “special operation” to oust Zelensky, who Putin branded a “Nazi” despite his Jewish heritage.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy arrive for a working session at the Elysee Palace Monday, Dec. 9, 2019 in Paris. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukraine's president are meeting for the first time at a summit in Paris to find a way to end the five years of fighting in eastern Ukraine. (Ian Langsdon/Pool via AP)

File/Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy arrive for a working session at the Elysee Palace Monday, Dec. 9, 2019 in Paris.  (Ian Langsdon/Pool via AP)

Putin’s objection to Zelensky stems from a wave of protests in Ukraine in 2014 that resulted in the ouster of pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych; the Russian government has considered all Ukrainian presidents after the protests illegitimate. Zelensky won a free and fair election, defeating Yanukovych’s successor Petro Poroshenko, as the “pro-Russian” candidate in 2019.

The full-scale invasion that began in 2022 remains ongoing, in large part due to Ukraine benefitting from generous weapons packages from European nations and the United States. America has offered $44 billion in security aid to Ukraine since February 2022. An extra $106 billion in aid – split among Ukraine, Israel, and other spending – is currently being debated in Congress, however, amid dwindling public support in America for funding Kyiv.

Speaking with the Associated Press, Zelensky contended that the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel had an impact on the world’s enthusiasm for supporting Ukraine. That day, the genocidal jihadist terrorist organization invaded Israel and engaged in mass torture, killings, gang rape, and abductions against random civilians. Terrorists went on door-to-door raids in residential communities, killing entire families, including brutalizing and desecrating the corpses of children. Forensic experts have found evidence of babies charred to death, decapitated, and suffering other atrocities. An estimated 1,200 people were killed on October 7 alone.

“We already can see the consequences of the international community shifting (attention) because of the tragedy in the Middle East,” Zelensky said in Friday’s interview. “Only the blind don’t recognize this.”

The president asserted that his country needed “to fight for attention for the full-scale war.”

“We must not allow people to forget about the war here … You see, attention equals help,” he explained. “No attention will mean no help. We fight for every bit of attention. Without attention, there may be weakness in (the U.S.) Congress.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Zelensky lamented that the prodigious amount of international aid for his armed forces was not enough to decisively defeat the massive Russian military and declared himself “not satisfied” with the current loss of life in the Ukrainian armed forces.

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Volodymyr Zelensky via Storyful

“Look, we are not backing down, I am satisfied. We are fighting with the second (best) army in the world, I am satisfied,” he explained. “We are losing people, I’m not satisfied. We didn’t get all the weapons we wanted, I can’t be satisfied, but I also can’t complain too much.”

Zelensky urged Western countries to continue funding his country by predicting that Russia “will most likely invade NATO countries” if Ukraine falls.

“And then the American children will fight,” he added.

Zelensky has been a vocal supporter of Israel and in the early days of the war described his ideal post-war Ukraine as modeled after Israeli society.

“Ukraine will definitely not be what we wanted it to be from the beginning. It is impossible. Absolutely liberal, European – it will not be like that,” Zelensky said in April 2022. “We will become a ‘big Israel’ with its own face. We will not be surprised if we have representatives of the Armed Forces or the National Guard in cinemas, supermarkets, and people with weapons. I am confident that the question of security will be the issue number one for the next 10 years. I am sure of it.”

In the days immediately following the Hamas attack, Zelensky declared, “Israel’s right to defense is indisputable” and urged world leaders to visit the country.

“My recommendation – if I can use this word – my recommendation for the leaders of the world … go to Israel,” Zelensky urged, adding that doing so can “help to save your nation, people, save lives.”

“So my recommendation to the leaders [is] to go to Israel and, I think, to support people. Just people, I’m not speaking about any institutions,” he added. “Just to support people who have been under terrorist attacks, people who are dying now. It’s very important. Unity is more important than to be alone is more strong. It’s very important.”

He also suggested that a “risk” existed that support for Israel would siphon away attention from his own country.

A month later, Zelensky lamented that that had been the case.

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“The world is not focused on this situation or on our battlefield in Ukraine. Dividing focus really doesn’t help,” he told British Foreign Minister David Cameron in November. “We understand the help of the world can be divided because the crisis in the Middle East and it’s a pity.”

Following the meeting with Cameron, Zelensky admitted that delivery of weapons aid at “really slowed down” after October 7.

“It’s not like the US said: we don’t give Ukraine any. No! It’s just that everyone is fighting for (stockpiles) themselves,” Zelensky said. “This is life. I’m not saying that this is positive, but this is life, and we have to defend what’s ours.”

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