The Washington Post has deleted a large tract of an interview with Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky in which he lashed out at alleged “traitors” in his ranks. RT is published the entire section that the US newspaper would rather keep hidden.
The following section appeared in an interview with the Ukrainian president published on Saturday. By Sunday it had been removed with no explanation. After discussing a trove of recently leaked Pentagon documents, which revealed – among other things – that the US monitors Zelensky’s communications, the newspaper presented him with a fresh allegation that has not yet been reported in the US media.
Note that Evgeny Prigozhin is the founder and head of the Wagner Group, a Russian private military company currently fighting in the Donetsk People’s Republic.
WaPo: The documents indicate that GUR, your intelligence directorate, has back-channel contact with Evgeny Prigozhin that you were aware of, including meeting with Evgeny Prigozhin and GUR officers. Is that true?
Zelensky: This is a matter of [military] intelligence. Do you want me to be convicted of state treason? And so, it’s very interesting, if someone is saying that you have documents, or if someone from our government is speaking about the activities of our intelligence, I would also like to ask you a question: With which sources from Ukraine do you have contact? Who is talking about the activities of our intelligence? Because this is the most severe felony in our country. Which Ukrainians are you talking to?
WaPo: I talked to officials in government, but these documents are not from Ukraine, they are from…
Zelensky: It doesn’t matter where the documents are from. The question is with which Ukrainian official did you talk? Because if they say something about our intelligence, that’s treason. If they say something about a specific offensive plan of one general or another, this is also treason. That’s why I asked you, which Ukrainians are you talking to?
WaPo: About these specific documents? You are the first person I am talking to about them.
WaPo: And I can read you what information exactly there is about Prigozhin and the GUR. On February 13, Kirill Budanov, chief of Ukraine’s Main Directorate of Intelligence, informed you about a Russian plan to destabilize Moldova with two former Wagner associates. Budanov informed you that he viewed the Russian scheme as a way to incriminate Prigozhin because “we have dealings” with him. You instructed Budanov to inform Moldovan President Maia Sandu, and Budanov told you that the GUR had informed Prigozhin that he would be labeled a traitor who has been working with Ukraine. The document also says that Budanov expected the Russians to use details of Prigozhin’s secret talks with the GUR and meetings with GUR officers in Africa…
Zelensky: Listen, to be honest, well, you just read something, you say something. I just don’t understand where you get it, whom you talk to and so on. You talk about how I met with Budanov. This suggests that you – how do you put it? It looks like you have people who have some records or you have some evidence or you have something, because that’s what it looks like. You are again doing, I apologize, what you were doing before. You are releasing some sort of information that does not help our state to attack and does not help us to defend our state. So, I don’t quite understand what you are talking about.
I don’t quite understand your goal. Is your goal to help Russia? I mean, that means we have different goals. If I’m not sitting at the same table with them, I don’t quite understand what we’re talking about. Each of these inquiries simply demotivates Ukraine, demotivates certain partners to help Ukraine. Well, one way or another, I just don’t understand your goal.
WaPo: Our goal is not to help Russia.
Zelensky: Well, it looks different.
WaPo: No one gave us this information personally. These were in the leaked documents, which do indicate, as I said earlier, that the United States is listening in on you.
Zelensky: And if you have classified documents, it means someone gave them to you. If you have access to documents, someone gave them to you. Today, in the world of modern technology, when you have access, it’s not necessarily someone gave it to you. You have access. You are now quoting some documents as originals, without understanding the responsibility for this, you are just talking about some information.
For me, this is incomprehensible information, but in this, in our dialogue, I want to understand why you are doing this. I told you at the beginning of our conversation that I believe that the TV show that was launched, launched in the information field, helps – I don’t know who, 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 and if you think that the Russian Federation needs to be helped in a variety of spheres – that they were expecting a Ukrainian counteroffensive in whichever direction, so that they know when we are coming, so that they know our powerful forces and what we are planning, what our intelligence is doing? Well, if that’s the case, then…
WaPo: I would say that these documents were leaked, not by us, and they were on the internet in a chatroom for weeks.
Zelensky: They were not on the internet, they were a part of something. We, the normal society, couldn’t access all of this. We couldn’t. And then, I think, information began to come out that we would partially publish everything else. I think it’s yours – or your editorial board, or whoever. I don’t want to offend anyone, I don’t know. That’s why you are releasing this information one by one today. You publish information about a counteroffensive in Ukraine, about this or that. I told you that I believe that this is, how to put it? – someone heard something somewhere, someone published something somewhere, but the information is compiled, and it is different, and it definitely does not work in Ukraine’s favor. That’s all. And now you want to take the bull by the horns. You need to substantiate or not substantiate this information, and then there will be a certain weight to your information, because the president of Ukraine reacts to it. Do you understand? And this is what you do. 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.” Well, yes, it is. There are still a few people left in Ukraine. I am not interested in seeing this number of people decrease. That’s why we are fighting. [In English] I am so sorry, I was not so quick, I was too long about these documents. I don’t know about this…
WaPo: We came to talk to you about this. It is clearly sensitive for you and your country.
Zelensky: [In English] 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 am the president of a war country, a country in war. I said about my reaction to these documents, I said that it’s not good for our people. You know, I am not playing Counter-Strike. We are preparing a counteroffensive. You know, these are different things – that’s why I said all of the details from me you will hear. And of course, we are thankful for your work, your help when you support Ukraine in this war. You did a big job. And now I am saying about these documents…I don’t recognize it as documents. I didn’t see that. That is the first thing.
I don’t know how you’ve got it and my question was to you: “Why are you continue 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 about what I am speaking. It’s something with some information. And 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. I just say the same message very publicly and very open.
I said it to you, with some journalist and to a lot of leaders. 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…