Latest Vladimir Putin’s swipe at Ukrainian government prompted a barbed riposte from the Ukrainian president.
During the joint press conference with Emmanuel Macron on Monday, Russia’a president blamed Kyiv for alleged attempts to stall Minsk peace deal, adding ‘ you will have to bear it, my belle, .. you like it or not’.
‘One moment Kyiv agrees to stick to Minsk agreements, and then they argue they will wreck their state. And the current president has recently said he doesn’t like none of the deal articles. Well, you like it or not, you will have to bear it, my belle! You have to keep to it. No other way will work.’
The blunt remark that was found to be a quote of some obscure Russian rock band lyrics raised many eyebrows in Kyiv.
In his own press conference with Emmanuel Macron who visited the Ukrainian capital the following day after his Moscow trip, Volodymyr Zelensky responded to Putin’s claims, wryly noting that ‘Ukraine is a belle, for sure. And as for the words that ‘my belle has to bear it’. As for [calling it] ‘my[ belle], it is a bit of a stretch.
The Moscow barbs also got a scathing response from Zelensky’s aide Mykhailo Podolyak who, in his comments for BBC, called it a sign of ‘weakness’ and ‘PR aggression’.
Meanwhile, Zelensky drew some ire in Ukraine after he switched to Russian in his speech at Tuesday press conference with the French president, as many critics found it to be a misstep given the current context of Ukraine-Russia relations.
In fact, Zelensky’s oversight is a serious violation of Ukraine’s constitution, as under art.10 state officials are required to use the ‘state’ language while performing their official duties. Notably, it is not the first-time incident for Zelensky who often disregards the officials code using Russian in his public speeches.