A viral video of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky takes his remarks out of context to wrongly make it sound like he demanded that Americans send their sons and daughters to fight in the war in Ukraine.
The out-of-context 19-second video has been viewed millions of times on Twitter. It features a clip of Zelensky speaking at a news conference last week as an interpreter translates his words into English as follows: “The US will have to send their sons and daughters, exactly the same way as we are sending, their sons and daughters to war. And they will have to fight, because it’s NATO that we’re talking about. And they will be dying, God forbid, because it’s a horrible thing.”
The clip has circulated widely on Twitter among critics of American financial and military support for the Ukrainian defense against Russia’s invasion. Monica Crowley, a conservative commentator who served in the Trump administration as a spokesperson for the Treasury Department, posted the video on Tuesday night and wrote, “Zelensky now directly threatening us and claiming American sons and daughters will have to fight and die for Ukraine. HELL NO.”
Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah shared former Trump administration official William Wolfe’s tweet of the video in which Wolfe claimed that Zelensky wants “dead Americans on Ukrainian soil.” Lee himself added in a tweet on Tuesday night: “Zelensky has no right to presume that our sons and daughters will fight his war. Shame on him. We’ve somehow sent the message that we work for him. Shame on us!”
Facts First: Zelensky did not say that American sons and daughters will have to fight in Ukraine or die for Ukraine. Rather, he predicted that if Ukraine loses the war against Russia because it does not receive sufficient assistance, Russia will proceed to enter North Atlantic Treaty Organization member countries in the Baltics (a region made up of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia) that the US will have to send troops to defend. Under the treaty that governs NATO, an attack on one member is considered an attack on all. Ukraine is not a NATO member.
Lee deleted his tweet after CNN informed his office on Wednesday about how the video was taken out of context.