U.S. President Joe Biden said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky ignored warnings that Russia would invade his country ahead of the February 24 aggression.

“I know a lot of people thought I was maybe exaggerating, but I knew, and we had data to sustain, he was going in off the border. There was no doubt. And Zelensky did not want to hear it, nor did a lot of people,” Biden said on Friday, June 10, during a political fundraiser in Los Angeles.

The U.S. president acknowledged that the possibility of Russian President Vladimir Putin launching a full-scale invasion may have seemed far-fetched, saying, “I understand why they didn’t want to hear it.” Biden accused Putin of “trying to obliterate the culture, not just the nation, but the culture” of Ukraine and said the Russian leader sees the capital of Kyiv as “the seat of mother Russia.”

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Adviser to the head of the President’s Office Mykhailo Podoliak, in a comment circulated on Saturday, June 11, said Kyiv was aware of Russia’s development of various expansion scenarios. “Volodymyr Zelensky always had relevant analytics on his desk, which was based on high-quality intelligence. The president also carefully reacted to all the words and warnings of our partners. The question has always been just how big will the invasion be? Without a doubt, the scale of the invasion that we saw on February 24 shocked many countries, including our partners,” he said.

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“Ukraine understood the intentions of the Russians, expected this or that aggressive scenario, prepared for it. This is evidenced, among other things, by the dispersal of ammunition depots and weapons in general, the lightning-fast reaction to multi-level invasions and the restructuring of defensive capabilities, the effective introduction of remote strikes in the first week, which sharply broke the initial Russian plans,” he said.

“But what is important, since the speed with which the state administration was rebuilt on a war footing and the almost lightning-fast recovery of our country from shock. And finally, the key thing, it seems to me that it is absurd to blame a country that has been effectively fighting in a full-fledged war against a much more resourceful opponent for more than 100 days, if the key countries have not been able to preemptively stop the militaristic appetites of Russia, knowing them perfectly,” he said.

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