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Biden: Zelensky ‘didn’t want to hear’ warnings about Russian invasion

US president says there was ‘no doubt’ that Putin would order his troops into Ukraine, and ‘we had data to sustain’ that assessment

US President Joe Biden (left) speaks at the House Democratic Caucus Issues Conference in Philadelphia, on March 11, 2022; Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (right) speaks in Kyiv, Ukraine, on March 12, 2022. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky; Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)
US President Joe Biden (left) speaks at the House Democratic Caucus Issues Conference in Philadelphia, on March 11, 2022; Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (right) speaks in Kyiv, Ukraine, on March 12, 2022. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky; Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)

LOS ANGELES — US President Joe Biden said Friday that his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky “didn’t want to hear” American warnings ahead of Russia’s invasion of his country.

“I know a lot of people thought I was exaggerating,” Biden said at a fundraising reception in Los Angeles, referring to his forewarning of the possibility of a Russian attack.

“But I knew we had data to sustain [the assessment],” he added in front of reporters.

Russian President Vladimir Putin “was gonna go into the border. And there was no doubt, and Zelensky didn’t want to hear it, nor did a lot of people. I understand why they didn’t want to hear it, but he went in.”

The US began raising the alarm over Russia’s preparations for an invasion of Ukraine well before Putin announced the “special operation” against the country on February 24.

The warnings were met with disbelief and even veiled criticism from some European allies, who at the time felt the US was being too alarmist.

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