New Details : Zelensky Scolds Germany & America

Volodymyr Zelensky dealt barely restrained blows to Joe Biden’s leadership in the Ukrainian leader’s appeal for more help from the United States. In today’s speech to the Bundestag of Germany, Zelensky dropped the thin veils entirely as he conjured up both Ronald Reagan and also the Holocaust in a speech that scolded Germany for inactiveness when it counted. While happy for Germany’s turnaround under Olaf Scholz, Zelensky informed legislators that it came “far too late” for Ukraine:

In a speech steeped in history, Mr Zelensky invoked former US President Ronald Reagan’s famous 1978 Berlin speech, urging Mr Scholz to “tear down the wall” Russia was attempting to erect in Europe.

“It’s not a Berlin Wall — it is a Wall in central Europe between freedom and bondage and this Wall is growing bigger with every bomb dropped on Ukraine,” Mr Zelensky told MPs after being welcomed with a standing ovation. …

“We turned to you,” he said. “We told you that Nord Stream (gas pipelines) was a kind of preparation for the war.”

“And the answer we got was purely economic — it is economy, economy, economy but that was the mortar for the new Wall.”

That was just the appetizer from Zelensky. The Ukrainian president, who lost a member of the family in the Holocaust himself, shamed Germany for turning its back on an additional genocide as it unravels in Ukraine:

“Every year politicians repeat ‘never again,’” the Ukrainian leader said, referring to annual Holocaust commemorations.

“And now, we see that these words simply mean nothing. A people is being destroyed in Europe,” he said, noting that 108 children had been killed in his country since the start of the Russian offensive.

As the Times of Israel notes, that has particular weight not just due to the fact of Germany’s 20th-century shame over the Holocaust but likewise because Vladimir Putin especially referenced it as a pretense for a war of conquest. Putin charged Zelensky as well as his government of being “neo-Nazis” regardless of Zelensky himself being a Jew.

Ukrainian officials have made repeated comparisons between Russia’s attacks on civilian centers and the Holocaust. Russian President Vladimir Putin has likewise evoked Nazism, claiming his military operation is to “denazify” areas of Ukraine where he said there is a “genocide” against pro-Moscow residents. Western allies have rejected Putin’s claims as a baseless excuse to carry out the invasion.

Washington Post foreign analyst Aaron Blake pointed out Zelensky’s barely hidden objection to Biden’s administration yesterday. Today, Blake wrote that Zelensky made that appear like a wet kiss in contrast:

It was a striking scene: The president of Ukraine, given a platform to address the U.S. Congress, using that platform to challenge the fortitude and will of an American president in helping Ukraine repel Russia’s invasion.

But it was nothing compared to Volodymyr Zelensky’s later speech to Germany’s parliament. And the address both reinforced that Zelensky’s strategy of directly challenging Western leaders is hardly just about the United States, and appears to be growing more blunt. …

On Ukraine’s desire to join NATO and the European Union, Zelensky suggested that Germany and others had slow-rolled Ukraine, with dire consequences.

“We asked you, what should Ukraine do to become a member of NATO and get the security guarantee?” Zelensky said. “And we got the answer: There is no such decision on the table.”

“Now you’re dragging your feet on Ukraine’s admission to the E.U. Frankly … that is a stone in the new wall,” Zelensky said.

Zelensky intends to lay the responsibility for this attack at the feet of both Putin and also the West that never stopped failing to acknowledge the growing danger, Blake concludes:

The diplomatic strategy here is evident. Zelensky wants the West to feel more of a sense of responsibility and accountability than it currently feels for what’s happening in his country, even as he knows he’s asking for things the West has been united in resisting, like a no-fly zone. He invokes things like Nord Stream 2 and NATO to reinforce that its decisions today — and the areas in which it declines to act — will be judged accordingly in the future.

A genocide calls for action, not diplomatic settlements, a factor that China’s Uighurs may desire to underscore. An invasion requires action, not economic talk as well as meaningless expressions of sympathy. While Zelensky’s easy-to-understand requests for a no-fly zone are non-starters for very excellent reasons, the grudging and incremental response to the rest of Ukraine’s needs has not reflected well on the West.

Deutsche Welle acknowledges the rhetorical beating Zelensky delivered and offers the entire speech with English translations. It’s unclear whether the Bundestag has a comparable custom of effusive applause throughout speeches, but it’s very clear that there isn’t much of it after the beginning of this speech until Zelensky’s last Slava Ukraini.

H/T HotAir

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