Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky showed this weekend that he is not about to accept loss in the information battlefield, launching what we can call his own ‘PR counteroffensive’ to push back to a campaign of several days of demoralizing news articles and opinion pieces in the Western MSM.
Notably, there was a damaging Time Magazine profile in which aides told – off the record – how the wartime leader became delusional with messianic overtones in his policy-making.
Perhaps even more damaging, his own Commander-in-Chief Valery Zaluzhny penned an op-ed in which he stated for all to hear that Ukrainian offensive efforts were locked in a stalemate.
The Presidential Office of Ukraine set about publicly rebuking Zaluzhny’s and firing his top military leader’s deputy.
Now, right as Zelensky is reaching out to the media trying to regain some lost terrain, yet another disturbing article arises, suggesting that Western powers have begun secretly moving towards peace negotiations.
NBC News reported:
“U.S. and European officials have begun quietly talking to the Ukrainian government about what possible peace negotiations with Russia might entail to end the war, according to one current senior U.S. official and one former senior U.S. official familiar with the discussions.
The conversations have included very broad outlines of what Ukraine might need to give up to reach a deal, the officials said. Some of the talks, which officials described as delicate, took place last month during a meeting of representatives from more than 50 nations supporting Ukraine, including NATO members, known as the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, the officials said.
The discussions are an acknowledgment of the dynamics militarily on the ground in Ukraine and politically in the U.S. and Europe, officials said.”
So Zelensky set about trying to reshape the informational battlefield in his favor. To begin with, an opening with a touch of not-so-subtle emotional blackmail.
He said that the cost of no more US aid is the onset of Russian war against NATO.
The Guardian reported:
“’If Russia will kill all of us, they will attack Nato countries and you will send your sons and daughters [to fight]’, Zelensky said. Zelensky made the comments on NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday.”
He proceeded to invite former US president – and frontrunner to 2024 – Donald Trump to visit and see the conflict for himself.
“Trump, running again for president in 2024, has been critical of US support for Ukraine and claimed to be able to solve the war in 24 hours.
‘If [Trump] can come here, I will need … 24 minutes to explain to President Trump that he can’t manage this war’, Zelensky said. ‘He can’t bring peace because of Putin’.”
He adopted a non-confrontational tone all along regarding the American leader.
New York Post reported:
“’If he’s not ready to give our territory for this terrible man’, Zelensky went on, ‘if you’re not ready to give our independence…he’s very welcome’.
Zelensky noted that he hasn’t had any contact with Trump since the latter departed the White House and conceded he doesn’t know if the former president would have Ukraine’s back.”
On NBC’s “Meet the Press”, Zelensky went overboard in his demonization of Putin.
In an interview aired Sunday, he said he is ensuring that Russian President Vladimir Putin ‘does not take away the freedoms of Ukrainians’.
The Hill reported on his words:
“I have a lot of power, back even feeling strong. And I have a lot of energy. It doesn’t mean that we want to fight all our lives because the price is high, like I said.
“Because the war takes the best of us, the best heroes, the best men, women, children. That’s it. But we are not ready to give our freedom to this f—ing terrorist, Putin. That’s it. That’s why we are fighting. That’s it.
[…] It’s not the question for us. For us, that is real life. So, you know, we wanted to get your support, like we say, yesterday. That’s why it doesn’t matter it will be today or tomorrow. We just, I think, lose time, lose time. Time is very expensive. That’s why we need your support. But you will get more. You will get more, I’m sure. After our win, you will see all these things.”
Again in the New York Post, it is reported that “despite apparent pressure to negotiate with Putin, Zelensky argued that doing so would be foolish.
‘I’m not ready to speak to the terrorists because their word is nothing’, he declared defiantly.”
But perhaps the most pathetic aspect of his new media offensive is his attempt to counter the very damning assessment by Commander in Chief Zaluzhny.
The general said that modern tech impeded fast military maneuvers, and ISR capabilities mean both sides can see everything the other is doing – so there is not much of an element of surprise.
So Zelensky said that now they’ll be ‘fast and unexpected’.
Ukrayinska Pravda reported:
“Our military is coming up with different plans, with different operations in order to move forward faster and to strike the Russian Federation unexpectedly…
[The Russians] thought they would checkmate us, but this didn’t happen…I don’t think that this is a stalemate.”