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31 Oct, 2023 11:56

Zelensky’s chief of staff deletes link to scathing Time article – media

The magazine depicted the Ukrainian leader as unwilling to compromise and unable to stop corruption
Zelensky’s chief of staff deletes link to scathing Time article – media

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s chief of staff, Andrey Yermak, has backtracked after promoting a Time magazine article that portrayed the leader as being overly stubborn and unable to control corruption.

Yermak’s Telegram account initially shared a link to the 3,700-word Time report on Monday, describing it as “a very important article,” according to screenshots shared by Ukrainian and Russian journalists. As of Tuesday, the message was no longer available.

Some commentators have suggested that whoever posted the link had failed to read the article first, and had assumed it was complementary of Zelensky.

Having previously been praised by Western journalists amid the conflict with Russia, Zelensky was painted in a less complimentary light by Ukrainian insiders quoted by Time, who described an “angry” individual with a record of political missteps.

“Zelensky feels betrayed by his Western allies. They have left him without the means to win the war, only the means to survive it,” the report said of the president, citing a longtime member of his team.

“He deludes himself,” another Zelensky aide told the magazine. “We’re out of options. We’re not winning. But try telling him that.”

The president’s “stubbornness” prevents his government from even considering a negotiated peace with Russia, according to the article. Instead, Zelensky orders the military to push forward, even though some frontline commanders refuse direct orders from his office, it added. Furthermore, Ukrainian armed forces lack weapons and manpower, with the latter undermined by sluggish conscription efforts.

The mood among the population in Ukraine could change in the winter, when people are likely to experience regular blackouts again, one source close to Zelensky told the outlet.

“Last year people blamed the Russians. This time they’ll blame us for not doing enough to prepare,” he predicted.

Yermak contributed to the story, claiming that Ukrainian officials are “not out here living the high life.” The remark was mentioned in the context of Zelensky’s apparent failure to address corruption, as suggested by another presidential confidante.

“People are stealing like there’s no tomorrow,” a top presidential adviser told Time. It took Zelensky at least six months to fire then-Defense Minister Aleksey Reznikov after the leader was alerted to graft in the department, although by that time “it was too late,” another source claimed. Western allies were “already aware” of a corruption scandal involving inflated procurement prices, as were frontline soldiers.