Ihor Zhovka, the Ukrainian president’s deputy chief of staff, told CNN on Thursday that Biden should show that he is “brave” by meeting Zelensky face to face in Ukraine, as other world leaders have.
Biden is due to travel to Brussels to meet with NATO leaders to discuss Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with the war now entering its third week.
When CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked Zhovka whether Zelensky will try to meet Biden in person while he is in Europe, he replied: “Well, just this week, three prime ministers of three friendly nations—Poland, Czech Republic and Slovenia—visited personally, so why not President Biden comes to Ukraine to meet my president?”
When Blizter suggested that might be “pretty dangerous,” for Biden, Zhovka laughed before adding: “Well, definitely it is dangerous when you have a war against my country, this war in Europe.
“One should not be afraid, if you’re brave, you are not afraid, you win the war.”
During the interview Zhovka repeated a request that a no-fly zone be implemented to assist Ukraine in its fight against Russia.
Zhovka said Zelensky is “really disappointed” by NATO’s refusal to approve a “humanitarian” no-fly zone over Ukraine.
“Once again, we’re doing more or less fine on the ground. We’re fine enough on the ground forces, but what we’re really lacking is support in the air,” he said.
“So if NATO is not able to provide us with a humanitarian no-fly zone, please provide us with fighter jets, please provide us with anti-missile air defense.
“My president will keep doing this. He spoke about this in the U.S. Congress and is thinking about this on a daily basis […] Ukraine really, badly needs the air defense.”
The White House has frequently opposed setting up a no-fly zone in Ukraine, arguing that shooting down Russian planes could ultimately lead to the conflict in Europe escalating across the word.
“And as we’ve said before, a no-fly zone would require implementation, it would require us potentially shooting down Russian planes, NATO shooting down Russian planes. And we are not interested in getting into World War III.”