“Everyone is tired of the Kievan beggarman,” the Russian ambassador said of the outcome
Moscow perceives Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s Tuesday visit to Washington as inconsequential for the outcome of the conflict, Russian Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov has said.
Zelensky visited the US capital to plead with lawmakers on Capitol Hill to approve a request for foreign security funding from the White House, which includes over $60 billion for Kiev’s needs. Republicans have been demanding major concessions from Democrats on immigration reform and border security as a precondition for voting on the aid.
The Ukrainian guest received a pledge of additional $200 million in military assistance from President Joe Biden, but there is no indication of a pending breakthrough in Congress.
“Everyone is tired of the Kievan beggarman,” Antonov noted in his remarks on the outcome of the visit. The trip was “completely lacking of substance” and reflected an “empty attempt” to put Ukraine’s needs ahead of American national interests, he added.
Biden has argued that pouring more money into Ukraine was a US national security priority, because, he claimed, Russia would attack NATO after defeating Kiev, and Americans would have to fight Russians directly. Moscow has stated that the refusal of the US-led military bloc to suspend its expansion in Europe and reject Ukraine’s bid to join were among the key causes of the hostilities.
Some former NATO officials, including ex-Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, urged Kiev and its backers to freeze the conflict so that Ukraine could be given partial membership, with security guarantees covering only the land currently controlled. The idea is that it would deter Russia from attacking the country in the future.
Maria Zakharova, the spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, compared Zelensky with a very specific type of person begging for help, when she said during a press briefing on Tuesday that he was going to the US to “sharomyzhnichat.”
The Russian verb is mockingly said to stem from the French phrase “cher ami,” which means “dear friend.” According to legend, soldiers who couldn’t keep up with Napoleon’s retreating army would say these words when pleading for food and shelter from Russians. Peasants who didn’t know French came up with the term, and it stuck.
Zakharova also rebuked US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who last week argued the Biden administration’s case for Ukraine by claiming that 90% of the money allocated for Kiev in the past was actually spent in the US, creating jobs in arms production and other parts of the economy. He called it “a win-win that we need to continue.”
“Maybe you should have invested all 100% into the US and left Ukraine alone?” Zakharova suggested.