President Volodymyr Zelensky demonstrated the openness of the political system of Ukraine

President Volodymyr Zelensky demonstrated the openness of the political system of Ukraine

With his Ukraine teetering on the brink, Volodymyr Zelenskiy delivered the speech of his life early Thursday morning. He swore unwavering resistance to the Russian invaders.

According to him, neither Russia nor Ukraine needs a war. “Not a cold war, not a hot war. Not hybrid.

“But if we are attacked, if we are faced with an attempt to take away our country, our freedom, our lives and the lives of our children, we will defend ourselves.

“When you attack us, you will see our faces. Not our backs, but our faces.

These were moving words. He even switched from Ukrainian to Russian, speaking directly to the Russians in the hope of dispelling the poisonous propaganda fog spread by the Kremlin’s lie machine.

The Kremlin lie machine, led by Vladimir Putin, claims that Ukraine is a Nazi-controlled puppet state of the West.

The Kremlin lie machine, led by Vladimir Putin, claims that Ukraine is a Nazi-controlled puppet state of the West.

It depicts Ukraine as a Nazi-controlled Western puppet state seeking to persecute ethnic Russians in Ukraine and advancing an aggressive NATO agenda. Too many people believe it.

The very presence of Volodymyr Zelensky in the office dispels this vile stain. Not only is he a native Russian speaker who grew up in the heavily Russified southeastern region of the country. He is Jewish.

Indeed, for a while, Ukraine was the only country other than Israel that had a Jewish head of state and Jewish prime minister, an ally of President Volodymyr Groysman.

And Zelensky is an example of the openness of Ukraine’s political system, unlike Russia, where Putin is president for life.

A former actor and political newcomer, his campaign began as a joke but resonated with millions of ordinary Ukrainians. In April 2019, he defeated veteran incumbent and scandal-ridden President Petro Poroshenko with an astounding 72 percent of the vote.

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky (pictured) is a native Russian speaker from the southeastern region of the country.  He is also Jewish, which dispels Putin's lies about Nazism.

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky (pictured) is a native Russian speaker from the southeastern region of the country. He is also Jewish, which dispels Putin’s lies about Nazism.

And this week, Zelenskiy’s unwavering rhetoric once again inspired his country and shamed the West.

As the occupiers cut Ukraine in two as they approached the capital, Kiev, yesterday morning the 44-year-old president, dressed in a military-style T-shirt, warned that Russian death squads were seeking to kill him and his family in order to destroy “Ukraine politically by killing the head of state.”

His wife Elena and their two children are in an unknown location in the country.

He also issued a scathing rebuke to the West for its inaction. Who is ready to fight with us? he asked. The darkest hour of Ukraine is the brightest hour of its leader.

And this marks a surprising twist. Just a few weeks ago, Zelenskiy’s presidency languished under accusations of meanness and incompetence.

As the occupiers cut Ukraine in two as they approached the capital Kiev, the 44-year-old president, dressed in a military-style T-shirt, warned yesterday morning that Russian death squads were seeking to kill him and his family in order to destroy “Ukraine politically by killing the head of state.”

As the occupiers cut Ukraine in two as they approached the capital Kiev, the 44-year-old president, dressed in a military-style T-shirt, warned yesterday morning that Russian death squads were seeking to kill him and his family in order to destroy “Ukraine politically by killing the head of state.”

His attempts to reform the appalling corruption in Ukraine have stalled.

His ratings fell to an all-time low. His attempts to secure international diplomatic support in the West were seen as a failure, as was his attempt to defuse tensions with Russia.

His internal team combined inexperience and highly questionable judgment. His presidency seemed to fade as quickly as it had flared up.

After all, just four years ago, Zelensky, a law graduate who moved into show business, was a mid-level actor in a popular political satire – somewhere between Monty Python and Yes Minister in the British context. Dubbed “The Servant of the People,” he starred as a humble, tortured but idealistic schoolteacher whose televised rant about corruption goes viral, leading to his unexpected election as president.

This seemingly fictional plot was surpassed by reality.

Ukrainians are fed up with Mr. Poroshenko, a confectionery magnate whose patriotic rhetoric has been undermined by persistent accusations of corruption.

They wanted change. Zelenskiy’s platform — he named his party Servant of the People after his TV show — which is scathingly critical of corruption and narrow-minded Ukrainian nationalism — seemed to suggest that. However, the script soon turned sour as Zelensky’s promised fight against defamation turned out to be selective at best.

His main backer was Igor Kolomoisky, a tycoon accused by the FBI of involvement in a multi-billion dollar bank fraud.

Mr. Kolomoisky, known for displaying his “pet” shark to intimidate visitors, has always denied wrongdoing. Ukrainian corruption, considered by many to be worse than Russian, has deep roots.

Power and wealth are closely related. Distrust of the predatory state has taken root in society, and it is quite justified.

Oligarchs run media empires while politicians and bureaucrats get paid. The judiciary is a festering mess where arrests, prosecutions and sentences are used to settle scores between political and commercial rivals. Senior positions are bought and sold.

Health care and education suffer from kickbacks. The security service, the SBU, is steeped in intrigue and scams and has been infiltrated by Russian agents of influence.

Zelenskiy’s team, made up mostly of show business buddies, stumbled across this minefield. They found it much easier to ridicule corruption than it was to eradicate it.

Irritated voters left his party en masse as criticism from international human rights groups and foreign governments escalated.

The tragic truth is that Mr. Zelenskiy is only the latest in a line of leaders who promised much but delivered little in Ukraine’s three decades of independence.

The brave, adaptable Ukrainian people survived and even thrived despite the incompetence and corruption of their rulers.

Zelensky’s uplifting rhetoric and personal courage are now at the center of national unity. But they do not compensate for his own failures and the failures of the rest of Ukraine’s political class.

President: I am target number one, my wife and children are number two

JAMES FRAYNE

The Russian death squad is hunting the Ukrainian president as “Target One” and his wife and children as “Target Two,” he warned yesterday.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s comments came in a grim assessment of what will be happening in the country in the coming days and hours.

Dressed in an olive green military uniform, he appeared before the TV cameras just after dawn yesterday to report that Vladimir Putin had sent a special forces unit to hunt him down.

“The enemy has designated me as the number one target,” Zelenskiy, 44, said. “My family is goal number two.”

President Volodymyr Zelensky has said he is Vladimir Putin's number one target and his family is number two on his hit list.

President Volodymyr Zelensky has said he is Vladimir Putin’s number one target and his family is number two on his hit list.

He added: “They want to destroy Ukraine politically by destroying the head of state.”

The president said he was working in a secret bunker in Kyiv. His 44-year-old wife Elena and their two children – daughter Alexandra, 17, and son Kirill, 9 – are taken to a secret place somewhere in Ukraine. “I know there is a lot of disinformation and rumors going around right now,” Zelensky said. “In particular, it is alleged that I left Kyiv. I stay in the capital, I stay with my people. My family is not a traitor, but a citizen of Ukraine.”

He spent most of yesterday on social media denying rumors that he had run away.

In a video on the encrypted messaging service Telegram, he vowed to fight back against Russian troops attacking the capital.

“We are all here defending our independence, our country, and it will continue to be so,” he said in self-taken footage with aides outside the presidency building. “Glory to our defenders, glory to Ukraine, glory to the heroes.”

The president said he was working in a secret bunker in Kyiv.  His 44-year-old wife Elena and their two children - daughter Alexandra, 17, and son Kirill, 9 - were taken to a secret location somewhere in Ukraine.

The president said he was working in a secret bunker in Kyiv. His 44-year-old wife Elena and their two children – daughter Alexandra, 17, and son Kirill, 9 – were taken to a secret location somewhere in Ukraine.

In a chilling early conversation with EU leaders in which he desperately called for tougher sanctions against Moscow, Mr. Zelenskiy also warned: “This is the last time you can see me alive.” Hours earlier, Putin called on the Ukrainian military to stage a coup to oust Zelensky.

In a deranged televised address, the Russian president repeated his false claims that “terrorists” and “neo-Nazis” run the government in Kyiv.

“Take power into your own hands,” he called on Ukrainian soldiers. “Don’t let neo-Nazis and Bandera use your children, wives and parents as human shields.”

Zelensky called on all Europeans with combat experience to take up arms and fight alongside the Ukrainian army to repel Russian attacks. “If you have combat experience in Europe and you don’t want to look at the indecision of politicians, you can come to our country and join us in protecting Europe, where it is now very necessary,” Zelensky said, taunting some in the West for that he doesn’t do enough to help.

“How are you going to defend yourself when you are so slow to help us in Ukraine?” he asked. “Europe has enough strength to stop this aggression.

“Columns of tanks and airstrikes are very similar to what Europe saw a long time ago, during the Second World War, something that she said “never again”. But here again. Now in 2022, it is 75 years since the end of World War II.”

He said all countermeasures should be considered by friendly countries, including visa bans and airspace closures for Russia.

Addressing the military, Zelenskiy added: “Hold on tight. You are all we have. You are all that protect our state.”

He spoke as weapons and bulletproof vests were handed over to Ukrainian MPs, who vowed to stay and fight back a possible assault on parliament.

Ukrainian officials said they distributed 18,000 weapons to the volunteers and also gave instructions on how to make firebombs. Russian troops entered from the north, south and east of the country.

Over 100,000 people are estimated to have fled their homes.

Source link

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.