Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is being criticized by some in his country after he said in an interview this week that he held back details of the United States' warnings about Russia's impending invasion because he feared people would flee the country and its economy would collapse.
"Honestly, my hair stood on end when I read what [Zelenskyy] said about evacuation," journalist Bogdan Butkevich wrote on his Facebook page, reports The Washington Post. "How can a person who has Mariupol, Bucha, and Kherson on his conscience say that an evacuation would have overwhelmed the country? He didn't want to put the country on a military footing because he was afraid of losing power."
Zelenskyy told The Post in an interview published Tuesday that had the information been shared, "then I would have been losing $7 billion a month since last October, and at the moment when the Russians did attack, they would have taken us in three days."
The Ukrainian president added that as Russian troops did not reach the country's capital of Kyiv, he made the right decision.
"We were as strong as we could be," he said. "Some of our people left, but most of them stayed here; they fought for their homes. And as cynical as it may sound, those are the people who stopped everything."
Some Ukrainians interpreted his comments to mean he'd chosen to protect the country's economy rather than its people and lives could have been saved if the population was better prepared for war.
Sevgil Musaieva, the editor-in-chief of the Ukrainian news site Ukrainska Pravda, said on Facebook she was "personally offended" by Zelenskyy's explanation, as she feels it questioned the intelligence of the people of her country.
Kateryna Babkina, a Ukrainian author, said Zelenskyy's failure to announce warnings, particularly to civilians in the most threatened areas of the country, is a "crime" and "not a glitch, not a mistake, not an unfortunate misunderstanding, not a strategic miscalculation."
One woman, asking to be identified as just "Oksana" told The Post it would be dangerous at this point to speak out against Zelenskyy, but said after the war there are "questions that need answers."
"Ukraine is winning because of our belief in the president and our armed forces, so I'm ready to wait for the explanation until after we win the war," she said.
Others defended Zelenskyy, including publicist Valerii Pekar, a teacher at Kyiv-Mohyla Business School, who posted on Facebook that Ukrainians had access to media reports about the warnings from the United States and "anyone who did not pack his own rucksack after reading the news about American intelligence reports has no right to claim that he was not warned."
"We all knew, and understood, that war was coming. We just didn't want to believe it because it's too terrible to be true," Olena Gnes, founder of the What is Ukraine project, commented on her Facebook page. "None of Zelenskyy's statements would have changed anything significantly."
However, people who said they understood Zelenskyy's motives said they still wonder why precautions weren't taken before the invasion, such as digging trenches along the nation's northern border to protect the country's cities from the Russians, or preparing blood banks.
© 2022 Newsmax. All rights reserved.