President Joe Biden, speaking to donors at a Democratic fundraiser here, said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky “didn’t want to hear it” when U.S. intelligence gathered information that Russia was preparing to invade.
The remarks came as Biden was talking about his work to rally and solidify support for Ukraine as the war continues into its fourth month.
“Nothing like this has happened since World War II. I know a lot of people thought I was maybe exaggerating. But I knew we had data to sustain he” — meaning Russian President Vladimir Putin — “was going to go in, off the border.”
“There was no doubt,” Biden said. “And Zelensky didn’t want to hear it.”
Although Zelensky has inspired people with his leadership during the war, his preparation for the invasion — or lack thereof — has remained a controversial issue.
In the weeks before the war began on Feb. 24, Zelensky publicly bristled as Biden administration officials repeatedly warned that a Russian invasion was highly likely.
At the time, Zelensky was also concerned on the time that the drumbeat of war was unsettling Ukraine’s fragile economy.