Utah Sen. Mike Lee deleted a tweet about remarks Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made that were taken out of context and wrongly made it sound like Zelenskyy demanded that Americans send their sons and daughters to fight in the war against Russia.
CNN reported Thursday that a fact check of Zelenskyy’s comments that were circulating in a 19-second video that was viewed millions of times on Twitter were taken out of context.
The clip features Zelenskyy speaking at a news conference last week as an interpreter translates his words into English.
“The U.S. will have to send their sons and daughters, exactly the same way as we are sending, their sons and daughters to war. And they will have to fight, because it’s NATO that we’re talking about. And they will be dying, God forbid, because it’s a horrible thing,” the Ukrainian president says.
According to CNN, Lee shared former Trump administration official William Wolfe’s tweet of the video in which Wolfe claimed that Zelenskyy wants “dead Americans on Ukrainian soil.”
“Zelensky has no right to presume that our sons and daughters will fight his war. Shame on him. We’ve somehow sent the message that we work for him. Shame on us!” Lee added in the tweet on his personal account, @BasedMikeLee.
A CNN fact check showed Zelenskyy didn’t say that American sons and daughters will have to fight in Ukraine or die for Ukraine.
“Rather, he predicted that if Ukraine loses the war against Russia because it does not receive sufficient assistance, Russia will proceed to enter North Atlantic Treaty Organization member countries in the Baltics (a region made up of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia) that the U.S. will have to send troops to defend. Under the treaty that governs NATO, an attack on one member is considered an attack on all. Ukraine is not a NATO member,” according to CNN.
Lee deleted his tweet after CNN told his office Wednesday about how the video was taken out of context.
“After new information came to light about the content of the tweet, it was removed,” Lee spokesman Lee Lonsberry told the Deseret News on Thursday.
Zelenskyy made the comments at a news conference on the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. He was asked what message he would give to the growing number of Americans who believe the U.S. is giving Ukraine too much support.
“I would like to thank all of the American people that are supporting Ukraine — the Congress, the president, the TV channels, the journalists, and everyone that has been supporting us,” he said, per the interpreter.
Zelenskyy also urged the U.S. to avoid losing its position of “leadership” in the world, asked Americans to see the Ukrainian people as similar to themselves, and said that while Ukraine enjoys “bipartisan support” in the U.S., he hears sentiments from time to time that are “dangerous,” CNN reported.
The Ukrainian president then said, “The U.S. is never going to give up on the NATO member states. If it happens so that Ukraine, due to various opinions and weakening — depleting — of assistance, loses, Russia is going to enter Baltic states, NATO member states, and then the U.S. will have to send their sons and daughters, exactly the same way as we are sending, their sons and daughters to war. And they will have to fight, because it’s NATO that we’re talking about. And they will be dying, God forbid, because it’s a horrible thing. I wish peace and Ukrainian support to the United States.”
Lee is among congressional Republicans who are questioning the amount of money the U.S. is sending to Ukraine and whether other NATO countries are contributing their fair share.
“First of all, this is a European conflict,” he said on Fox News last week. “Putin’s a bad guy. I hope sincerely that he’s stopped. This cannot be ours to fight nor cannot be ours to fund alone.”
In series of tweets, Lee wrote, “After sending $113 billion to Ukraine in 2022, why should the U.S. even consider sending more until every NATO member (1) has begun spending at least 2% of its GDP on defense, and (2) has spent at least of much of its GDP on Ukraine aid as the U.S. did in 2022?”