Ukrainian president criticizes Western ‘appeasement’ of Putin’s aggression


Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Saturday criticized Western inaction against Russian aggression, saying Ukraine has acted as a “shield” over the past eight years and Europe’s security architecture has completely failed .

Why is this important: Zelensky’s closely watched speech at the Munich Security Conference came just a day after President Biden warned that Russian President Vladimir Putin had made the decision to invade Ukraine and planned to target Kyiv. .

  • US officials had urged Zelensky not to leave the country, but he said after his speech that it was important not to show “panic” or allow decisions to be made without Ukraine.
  • “We’re just not going to put ourselves in coffins and wait for Russian soldiers to arrive,” Zelensky said during a question-and-answer session after the speech.
  • A serious escalation in pro-Russian separatist territory in eastern Ukraine has raised fears the Kremlin is fabricating a pretext to invade in the coming days.

The big picture: Zelensky began his speech by recalling Putin’s address at the Munich Security Conference in 2007, where the Russian president called the US-led world order and NATO’s eastward expansion “extremely dangerous”.

  • A year later, Putin invaded Georgia using many of the same tactics US officials say he is trying now.
  • Then in 2014, Putin annexed Crimea and fomented a pro-Russian insurgency in eastern Ukraine that continues to this day.

What they say : “How did we get to the biggest security crisis since the end of the Cold War? For me, as the president of the country that lost part of its territory, thousands of people, the country surrounded by 150,000 soldiers on our borders, this response is obvious,” Zelensky said.

  • “The security architecture of Europe and beyond is almost destroyed. It is too late now to talk about fixing it. It is high time to create a new one,” he continued.
  • “15 years ago, it was the Russian Federation that made a statement here challenging the global security order. How did the world react? The appeasement.

Zelensky then criticized NATO for claiming to have an “open door” policy while refusing to let Ukraine in, and called on the alliance to provide a deadline for his country’s eventual membership.

  • “Be honest about it. Open houses are good, but we need open answers. Not years and years of closed questions,” Zelensky said. Ukraine will never be a “buffer” between Russia and the West, he added.
  • Zelensky also criticized the West for claiming that Putin made the decision to invade, but did not impose sanctions until the attack began: “What are you waiting for? We don’t need sanctions after the bombing, after we have no more borders, no. Why would we need these sanctions then? »

The bottom line: “Ukraine wants peace. Europe wants peace. The world says it doesn’t want war, while Russia says it doesn’t want to intervene. Someone here is lying,” he said. said Zelensky, before receiving a subpoena. ovation.

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