Fox News personality Laura Ingraham sparked outrage after calling Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's plea for peace "pathetic" just minutes after Russian forces began invading Ukraine.
Ingraham made the remarks during a call with former Republican President Donald Trump, who'd been giving an interview on her program. They even found time to ridicule Sergiy Kyslytsya, Ukraine's ambassador to the United Nations, referring to him as "a defeated man."
You can watch the clip below.
“We had kind of a really pathetic display from the Ukrainian President Zelenskyy, earlier today ... where he in Russian―he didn’t like to speak Russian―but in Russian, he was essentially imploring Vladimir Putin not to invade his country."
“And now, we basically have the Ukrainian Ambassador to the United Nations looking like a defeated man."
Ingraham's statements came shortly after Zelenskyy made a final attempt to broker peace with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who in recent weeks appeared unmoved by the international community's concerns as a protracted security dilemma threatened to erupt into an all-out war.
Zelenskyy, speaking in Russian, stated both the Ukrainian people and the Ukrainian government "want peace," but in no uncertain terms stressed that should the country "come under attack," Russian forces would "see our faces, not our backs.”
The United States, citing intelligence sources, confirmed a Russian attack was imminent and would come this week as Putin showed no signs of pulling back the estimated 190,000 troops he'd amassed around Ukraine's borders. And on February 24, an attack did indeed take place, with Putin warning other countries any attempt to interfere with the Russian invasion would lead to “consequences they have never seen.”
In the weeks before the invasion, Russia had issued several security demands the United States and its allies rejected.
Putin aims to curtail the enlargement of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), seeking to bar Ukraine from joining the alliance in a bid to assert Russia’s influence over its neighbors, aspirations that gained further prominence after Putin seized the Crimean Penninsula.
Although Ukraine is not yet a member of NATO, it is partnered with the military alliance. This development angered Putin, who views Ukraine not as an independent nation but as land lost as a result of the end of the Cold War, which resulted in the Soviet Union's collapse and diminished Russia's superpower status.
Putin had left world leaders guessing as to whether or not he actually wanted to proceed with an invasion though he clearly wants NATO to curb military exercises in Ukraine and in other former Soviet satellite states, demands that resulted in a diplomatic stalemate.
Given these facts–and reports Ukraine's security forces have already suffered significant casualties as millions attempt to flee to safety–Ingraham's remarks have been widely condemned.
Others suggested the right-wing's normalization of Putin's actions—as well as former President Trump's often deferential attitude toward Putin—have weakened the West, offering Putin the assurance he can meet his ends without fear of retaliation from NATO members.
In the weeks leading up to the invasion, several prominent figures within conservative circles have either downplayed or outright lied about Putin's motivations.
Last month, Donald Trump Jr. made the erroneous claim tht Hunter Biden, the son of President Joe Biden, is to blame for Russian aggression toward Ukraine, suggesting the younger Biden's "lucrative and shady AF business dealings in Ukraine" would ultimately cause a war to break out on the European continent.
Shortly afterward, Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Georgia Republican, further elevated discredited conspiracy theories about Hunter Biden's business dealings, suggesting President Biden is willing to wage war with a major nuclear power to protect his son from blowback.
And, of course, twice impeached former Republican President Donald Trump claimed it was due to the so-called "rigged election."
President Biden has condemned Russia's "unprovoked and unjustified attack" on Ukraine, charging Putin chose "a premeditated war that will bring a catastrophic loss of life and human suffering."
Biden plans to announce "severe sanctions" against Russia later today.