Zelenskyy Pushed for Attacks Inside Russia, Leaked Documents Reveal
Despite assurances to Western countries that Ukraine wouldn't use its weapons shipments to attack territory inside Russia, Ukrainian Pres. Volodymyr Zelenskyy reportedly pushed for such attacks in private talks.
- Despite assurances to Western countries that Ukraine wouldn't use its weapons shipments to attack territory inside Russia, Ukrainian Pres. Volodymyr Zelenskyy reportedly pushed for such attacks in private talks, going as far as proposing that Ukraine attempt to occupy Russian border cities to give it leverage in later negotiations. The revelations were reportedly leaked on the messaging platform Discord.1
- Zelenskyy's proposals come from US intelligence documents, reported on by the Washington Post as part of its continued coverage of the trove of leaked Pentagon documents that surfaced earlier this year.1
- According to the documents, Zelenskyy suggested attacks on Russia on multiple occasions. He also suggested blowing up the Soviet-era Druzhba pipeline that provides Russian oil to Hungary — what would ostensibly be an attack on a NATO country.1
- In an interview with the Washington Post, Zelenskyy declined to comment when asked about proposals to invade Russian cities, stating: "Let's not get into fantasies." On the question of strikes inside Russia, he said: "No one in our country has given orders for offensives or strikes on Russian territory."2
- Further asked about the report while on a European tour that saw Zelenskyy travel to Rome and the Vatican on Saturday, the Ukrainian leader said: "We don’t attack Russian territory, we liberate our legitimate territory. We have neither the time nor the strength [to attack Russia]. And we also don’t have weapons to spare, with which we could do this. We are preparing a counterattack for the illegally occupied areas based on our constitutionally defined legitimate borders, which are recognized internationally."3
- On Monday, Zelenskyy also traveled to London, where he met with UK Prime Minister Sunak. Ahead of Zelenskyy's arrival, Sunak's office said it will be providing Ukraine with hundreds of air defense missiles as well as long-range attack drones capable of striking targets 120 miles (200 km) away. Zelenskyy also sought to secure additional military aid from Italy, France, and Germany during his visits.4
Sources: 1Washington Post (a), 2Washington Post (b), 3Associated Press, and 4BBC News.
- Pro-establishment narrative, as provided by BBC News. Ukraine has no intention of striking Russian territory. It's busy trying to de-occupy Ukrainian land — illegally invaded by the Kremlin — and that is Ukraine's only priority.
- Establishment-critical narrative, as provided by Washington Post. Despite Zelenskyy's pledges not to attack Russia, US intelligence documents show that in private talks, he at least considered the idea on more than one occasion.