President Joe Biden said that the president of Ukraine, Volodimír Zelensky, he ignored warnings that Russia would invade his country before the February 24 attack.
“I know a lot of people thought maybe I was exaggerating, but I knew, and we had data to back it up, that he was leaving the border. There was no doubt. And Zelensky didn’t want to hear it, and not a lot of people,” Biden said Friday during a political fundraiser in Los Angeles.
The president acknowledged that the possibility that the Russian president, Vladimir Putinlaunched a full-scale invasion may have seemed far-fetched and said, “I understand why they didn’t want to hear it.”
Biden accused Putin of “trying to destroy the culture, not just the nation, but the culture” of Ukraine, saying the Russian leader sees the capital of Kyiv as “the seat of mother Russia”.
Russia’s military failed to capture Kyiv, but has made gains in southern and eastern Ukraine, where Putin hopes to capture the entire Donbas region. Ukraine’s military has mounted counterattacks outside the city of Kharkiv in the north and in the region around the occupied city of Kherson in the south.
The president spoke at the Los Angeles home of investor Andrew Hauptman in an event expected to raise about $2.5 million for the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Grassroots Victory Fund, according to a party official. The event was co-sponsored by Hollywood producer Jeffrey Katzenberg.
The president will speak at a second fundraising event later Friday at the home of the producer and billionaire investor Haim Saban which is also expected to generate about 2.5 million for the Democratic Party. Biden is in Los Angeles to host the Summit of the Americas.