Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is like the West’s moral conscience, with his daily video commentary highlighting his country’s heroism in resisting a Russian invasion that has degenerated into murderous barrages against civilians.
But while he’s making it impossible to look away from his nation’s agony, Zelensky, who on Tuesday accused the outside world of not doing enough to stop “genocide,” is increasingly running headlong into the war’s harsh reality:
President Joe Biden and European leaders face political and geopolitical red lines that Russian President Vladimir Putin, a nuclear-armed tyrant, simply does not in his relentless destruction. Soaring oil prices are also playing into the underlying equation of the war:
Will Western pressure strangle the Russian economy and force Putin’s hand before Ukraine and its people are destroyed or driven to a mass refugee exodus? And how long can public opinion in the US and Europe hold firm?
Zelensky’s poignant appeals have made lawmakers in the US and Europe cry on video calls, revived the West from its post-Cold War slumber and captivated the world with his defense of democracy. He’s the antipode to the cruelty of Putin. If one man ever changed the world, few have done so as quickly as Zelensky.
In the latest video message Tuesday in his near three-week campaign to inspire and shame the West into saving his non-NATO nation, Zelensky castigated foreign leaders for not imposing a no-fly zone over Ukraine and for failing to send him warplanes as Russian attacks take a terrible human toll. “Some powerful people have decided to give up on Ukraine. But we will not allow that,” Zelensky said in a passionate Facebook address, calling on world leaders to supply “lifesaving” military aviation and anti-rocket systems.