An out of context excerpt from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s press conference is being circulated online by Russian and US social media users, claiming that he is calling on Americans to fight for Ukraine. Answering questions during a press conference dedicated to the first anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Zelensky said that if Ukraine fails to stop Russia, then NATO countries will have to do it, because capturing Ukraine will not stop Russia’s expansionist policies regarding its neighboring countries, including NATO members.
Certain social media users are spreading the message that Volodymyr Zelensky is allegedly “calling for NATO to enter into the war if they don’t want to give Ukraine enough weapons” and urging “the United States to send their sons and daughters” to fight for Ukraine. To support their fake claims, they are distributing an 18-second video clip from the President Zelensky’s press conference on the anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24th.
“The United States will have to send their sons and daughters the way we are sending our sons and daughters to war, and they will have to fight … and they will die,” Zelensky is quoted as saying.
This 18-second clip was cut from the video broadcast (from 1:40:10) of the press conference by the British conservative newspaper The Telegraph, whose logo can be seen in the upper right corner of the video. After reviewing the full version of the video, it is clear that the clip being circulated online is taken completely out of context and misleads viewers.
The video being circulated is part of the Ukrainian President’s response to a question from a BBC reporter about what he wanted to say to the growing number of American citizens who believe the US is “giving too much support to Ukraine.”
“I want to thank all the Americans who support Ukraine – Congress, the President, television, journalists, and all those who support us. What can I say to that segment of Americans that, as you said, is growing, I can only say one thing to them: if they do not change their minds, if they do not understand us, if they do not support Ukraine, they will lose NATO, they will lose US influence, they will lose their absolutely justified world leadership positions, and they will lose the support of a country with 40 million people, where there are millions of children … Are American children really that different from Ukrainian ones? Don’t Americans care about the same things as we do? Are we really that different? …
I’m glad we have bipartisan support, but sometimes we hear these messages. They are dangerous. Why? Because some of the political leaders who are elected by the people and who voice these messages must understand that people who elected them look up to them. These are their voters, they hear them. You can’t be so careless. Who wants a third world war? Do they really want to take the risk? America will never abandon NATO countries. Never. And if it happens that Ukraine does not withstand (Russia’s invasion and war ed.) because of such views, because of a weakening of support, Russia will come to NATO countries. It will happen. They will come to the Baltics, they will enter and take the Baltic countries. It will happen. And then the United States will send their sons and daughters, as today we are sending ours, and they will fight because this is NATO. And they will die. God forbid, this is a terrible grief. I only wish peace for the United States and support for Ukraine” President Zelenskyy said.
It is clear from Zelensky’s full answer that he was not calling for NATO to enter the war on the side of Ukraine, nor did he say that the US should send its military to fight against Russia alongside Ukraine. He said that if Ukraine fails to stop and contain Russia, then NATO countries will be forced to do this, but they will have to do so on their own territory, because the Kremlin will not stop in its expansionist policies and most certainly will try to attack the Baltic countries.
During the press conference President Zelenskyy repeatedly stated that if Ukraine receives enough weapons and equipment, it will be able to win, and thus secure the countries of the European Union and NATO from further Russian threat.
Baltic States representatives have also repeatedly made similar statements. Lithuanian Defense Minister Arvydas Anusauskas said that Russia poses a “direct and long-term threat” to the Baltic countries. He emphasized that the aggressive rhetoric of the Kremlin and its propaganda, “the intensive militarization of the Kaliningrad region, as well as the factor of Belarus, fully integrated into the Russian military system, pose a real threat to Lithuania and the region as a whole.”
Earlier, StopFake journalists refuted Russian fakes claiming that President Zelensky allegedly said that he “does not understand what the Ukrainians are fighting for.”