Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky refused to be evacuated from the compound after Russian assassins tried to enter the building following the invasion in Kyiv, according to reports. Presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych narrated the account to TIME.
Reportedly, following the Russian invasion on February 24, Zelensky was offered evacuation by both British and US forces and to set up a government in exile, likely in Poland.
Zelensky Recorded His Video from the Compound
Speaking to Time, Arestovych said that the Ukrainian president's advisers repeatedly warned him about the compound being in danger of an attack from sniper fire and grenades. Claiming that bulletproof vests and assault rifles were given to Zelensky and his aide, Arestovych said, "It was an absolute madhouse. Automatics for everyone."
"The place was wide open. We didn't even have concrete blocks to close the street, recounted ," Arestovych while adding that Zelensky's wife and children were also still there as the Russians descended the city.
Earlier, a video of Zelensky along with his aides had surfaced on social media which was recorded on the second night of invasion. The President was seen assuring his countrymen that he and his team had not fled Kyiv as was being propagated. Also, speaking to TIME, Zelensky had said, "You understand that they're watching. You're a symbol. You need to act the way the head of state must act."
Social Media Divided Over Claims
The social media was left divided with the new claims that have been made by Arestovych. While several praised Zelensky for his heroism and called him the true leader, there were few others who refused to believe the account.
"@ZelenskyyUa Wake up! This selfish man Zelinski, who has a personal net worth of over 700 million is dragging the world into war while his wife poses for Vogue. He forced people both young and old to stay and fight with no military experience rather than tell them to evacuate," tweeted a user.
"Russian hitmen parachuted into the capital? How does that even work? How were they not shot out of the sky?" wrote another.
"I can't see how paratroopers just sailed in to the capitol bldg w/o being shot down or stopped, but ok, apparently they made it down, and in. But then what happened? How was Zelensky ok? The Russians just couldn't find him? mmkay... then what? They just left? Where was everyone?" wrote another.
"Russian Hitmen" I know this whole thing is scripted by Langley, and handed to NATO to run with, but come on, it sounds like they watched a B Movie, and said "people could fall for this", and ran with it," wrote another user.