Zelenskyy say US ‘not funding the war’ in Ukraine, it’s protecting ‘freedom and democracy’

The Ukrainian president leaned into feelings over facts as he responded to questions about America’s ongoing funding of the war with Russia.

(Video: NBC News)

“The Americans are not funding the war in Ukraine,” insisted Zelenskyy to NBC News host Kristen Welker Sunday on “Meet the Press.”

That claim came only hours after the U.S. House of Representatives once again put foreign aid ahead of America’s national sovereignty with the passage of a roughly $95 billion package that included about $61 billion for Ukraine.

Welker had stated, “As you know, this aid was held up for half a year because there is fierce opposition to sending more aid to Ukraine, particularly amongst some Republicans. How long should Americans be expected to fund the war in Ukraine?”

“The Americans are not funding the war in Ukraine,” argued Zelenskyy through a translator. “They foremost protect freedom and democracy all over Europe. And Ukraine is fighting. And Ukraine is sending its best sons and daughters to the front line. And this reduces the price for all Europe, for all NATO.”

“It reduces the price for everyone, including the U.S. as the leaders in NATO. U.S. Army now does not have to fight protecting NATO countries; Ukrainians are doing that,” he continued. “And it’s only the ammo that the civilized world is providing. And I think it’s a good decision. That is why we do need to keep supporting.”

Moments earlier, the president had contended, “And today, we definitely need this aid. And Kristen, we really need to get this to the final point. We need to get it approved by the Senate. And then we want to get things as fast as possible so that we get some tangible assistance for the soldiers on the frontline as soon as possible, not in another six months so that they will be able to move ahead.”

As it happened, Zelenskyy’s claims to defending democracy came weeks after an election would have been scheduled to take place. However, the Ukrainian constitution would require the suspension of the ongoing martial law to allow a vote.

The Ukrainian president had reiterated the likelihood that his five year term, which began in 2019, would go on indefinitely when he argued in November, “Now, in wartime, when there are so many challenges, it is absolutely irresponsible to throw the topic of elections into society in a lighthearted and playful way.”

“We must realize that now is the time of defense, the time of the battle that determines the fate of the state and people, not the time of manipulations, which only Russia expects from Ukraine,” he’s stated in a video message. “I believe that now is not the right time for elections.”

Meanwhile, throughout the dialogue with Welker, Zelenskyy downplayed suggestions that morale and motivation were declining, arguing that it wasn’t for a loss of appetite “to protect the motherland” but rather because “when they go to the frontlines and they see there are no shells, there is no equipment, that’s why the aid from the states is so important.”

Zelenskyy also dismissed suggestions that former President Donald Trump would be able to negotiate and end to the conflict hours after Democrats on the House floor celebrated the passage of the foreign aid package by waving Ukrainian flags to the ire of conservative Republicans.

Kevin Haggerty

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