Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Friday he trusts that President Joe Biden wants to help repel the Russian invasion — but warned that the leader of the free world can’t prove it without delivering desperately needed fighter jets and missiles.
During an interview on Fox News, Zelensky was asked if he believed Biden “wants Ukraine to win” or fears how Russian President Vladimir Putin will react if his forces are defeated.
“I have faith that President Biden, like any true American citizen, believes and wants the truth to win — and the truth is on the side of Ukraine,” Zelensky said through a translator.
“I believe that they want the values that make our nations closer, to win. That’s freedom. That’s democracy. Freedom of speech. Freedom to choose. Freedom to choose your dignified life, work, who to live with, who to love, how many children to have.”
But in remarks clearly aimed at the White House, Zelensky said Ukraine badly needed the fleet of Soviet-designed MiG-29 jets that Poland offered last month — and which Biden refused to transfer from Germany for fear of starting World War III.
“We don’t want to receive a million of quality bulletproof vests, or some special brand helmets,” Zelensky said.
“Just give us missiles. Give us airplanes. You cannot give us F-18 or F-19 or whatever you have — give us the old Soviet planes. That’s all. Give them into my hands. Give me something to defend my country with.”
Zelensky — who wore a trademark olive-drab military T-shirt for the remote appearance — also said he believed “that the people of the United States want that.”
“But if this process gets longer, continues to be delayed, if we can see that the process of transferring those weapons is getting slower, then people will begin to ask the question: Is it really true? Maybe there is some game behind it,” he said.
“I don’t want to believe that some — some partners of ours are playing games. We want simple peace for our nation.”
Zelensky continued: “I don’t know if President Biden is fearing President Putin. I don’t — I believe that he doesn’t. I want to believe that he doesn’t. Because he’s the leader of a big nation, a great nation.”
The Ukrainian leader then gestured with both his hands, saying, “I’m holding my fists. That’s our tradition. I don’t know if you understand this.”
“I hold my fists or cross my fingers so that this will never happen — that any president of the United States would fear Russia, because America for us was always a symbol of democracy,” he said.
“And I have faith that Ukraine is also now.”