Zelenskyy’s Paranoid Meltdown Signals Trouble in Kiev
May 16, 2023, 2022 (EIRNS)—In a performance that is undoubtedly being widely studied, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy had an epic meltdown, if the transcript of his hour-long May 1 interview with two reporters from the Washington Post, posted on May 13, can be believed. Within 24 hours, the Post deleted the heated exchange from its coverage, which has been posted by RT. A whitewashed version of the interview had been posted on May 2.
Upon being asked about an alleged Pentagon document on the “Discord server,” in which the head of Ukraine’s Military Intelligence Directorate (GUR) Kyrylo Budanov tells Zelenskyy of being able to blackmail the head of Russia’s “Wagner” private military unit, Yevgeny Prigozhin (based on alleged contacts between Prigozhin and the GUR), Zelenskyy first says that he would be guilty of treason if he were to comment. (Of some note, this reaction makes it appear, independent of whether there were any Prigozhin-GUR contacts, that the Budanov-Zelenskyy discussion did occur.) Next, Zelenskyy flips from the defensive to the offensive, somehow forgetting that it is the alleged Pentagon documents being talked about. Instead, he demands to know who in Ukraine is leaking info to the reporter.
Zelenskyy puts aside, temporarily, his concern over who the traitor or traitors might be, and he questions the reporter’s motives. The reporter has broken the arrangement whereby nothing bad is said about Ukraine. Zelenskyy instructs that the line of questioning is one “that does not help our state to attack and does not help us to defend our state....” So, why would he ask Zelenskyy whether the Pentagon document reflects a real discussion between Zelenskyy and Budanov? “Is your goal to help Russia?... Each of these inquiries simply demotivates Ukraine, demotivates certain partners to help Ukraine.” That is, while Zelenskyy is unused to having to answer such an unscripted question, he also displays paranoia over what is going on in Washington, whether circles he trusted have become his enemy.
The reporters try to assure him that the Post is also against Russia, but Zelenskyy is off to the races:
“...but it helps Russia, it definitely doesn’t help Ukraine. You are engaged in continuing this story. And so, I ask you if it’s your choice... that they [Russia] know when we are coming, so that they know our powerful forces and what we are planning, what our intelligence is doing? ... You are right now playing with, I think, things that aren’t good for our people. This is not the first time I’ve told you this. I think it’s wrong, but nevertheless, you say, ‘Just a little bit more, it’s not over yet.’ ” After some more of this, he seems to apologize: “I am so sorry, I was not so quick, I was too long about these documents. I don’t know about this....”
The reporters tried to step back:
“We came to talk to you about this. It is clearly sensitive for you and your country.” But that just triggers more: “It is not sensitive. If I answer you that it’s sensitive, it means that these are real documents. Please, stop playing games with me.... I said about my reaction to these documents, I said that it’s not good for our people....”
A bit later:
“[M]y question was to you: ‘Why are you continuing doing that?’ Okay. You are free. I mean, you will do what you want, but I don’t want to speak about it with details. Because I don’t know what I am speaking about ... I said that I didn’t have any contact with the White House about these documents. Or not documents. About these papers. Or not papers. About this platform. Or a fake platform.... I didn’t have before, now, and, I don’t know, maybe in the future.... When they asked me about this, I said it’s not good for us. What can I say? It’s not good. I don’t know if it was fake or what a percent—I don’t know what it is. And I don’t know who needs it and what is the game. I don’t know what for. That’s it. For me, it’s not serious. It sounds like somebody said, somebody heard something....”
Washington Post shortly afterwards deleted that section of the interview. While one might ask, what were they up to in posting it in the first place, Zelenskyy’s bizarre performance (which should be read to be properly appreciated) suggests an unstable situation, and a circling of the wagons in Kiev.