Ukraine’s President Zelenskyy walks fine line between downplaying war threat and appealing for help | World News

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy was a comedian and actor before he became leader.

He knows how to perform to a room. And can he talk.

Speaking at a news conference for foreign media on Friday, he faced question after question on the talk of a rift between him and US President Joe Biden.

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The two presidents had spoken on the phone the night before. Accounts of the call vary but Mr Zelenskyy used it to express his frustration at allies.

The Pentagon says there’s a distinct possibility Russia could soon invade Ukraine. Ukrainian intelligence disputes that.

An adviser to the president this week told Sky News it’s missing some key elements of military infrastructure that it needs to carry out an invasion any time soon.

The Ukraine government has been telling its people not to panic, no invasion is imminent. Critics say it is more worried that all this talk of invasion will adversely affect the economy.

Sky News put those suspicions to Mr Zelenskyy.

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“It is very strange that I am being suspected of something,” he said.

“For me the question of the possible escalation is not less acute as for the United States and other partners.”

But he conceded fears that “we may lose the current economy… People come first.”

He told reporters: “There are no tanks in the streets.

“But media give the impression, if one is not here, that we have a war, that we have army in the streets… That’s not the case. We don’t need this panic.”

The president also criticised America and Britain for withdrawing diplomatic staff from their embassies, leaving essential staff only, saying Ukraine was not a sinking Titanic that people had to evacuate.

He was walking a fine line between downplaying the likelihood of war and appealing to allies for help from an aggressor.

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