Fact Check: Zelenskyy Did NOT Ask Romanians To Stop Investing In Their Country And Buy Weapons For Ukraine

Fact Check

  • by: Ioana Burtea
Fact Check: Zelenskyy Did NOT Ask Romanians To Stop Investing In Their Country And Buy Weapons For Ukraine Fact Check: Zelenskyy Did NOT Ask Romanians To Stop Investing In Their Country And Buy Weapons For Ukraine Out Of Context

Did Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy ask Romanian and world leaders to stop investing in infrastructure or other economic sectors in their own countries and instead buy weapons for Ukraine? No, that's not true: The video making the rounds on social media is an excerpt from a "Special Report" interview Zelenskyy gave Fox News on December 12, 2023, that has been taken out of context.

The claim originated in a video (archived here) on TikTok by user @iondragoshoreaba on December 14, 2023, with the title (translated from Romanian to English by Lead Stories staff) "Don't build roads, spend your money on weapons." The captions said (as translated):

Cerșevski [i.e. 'beggar Zelenskyy] is asking for our money! Let Ukrainian millionaires give you money!

This is what the post looked like on TikTok at the time of writing:

Screenshot 2023-12-18 at 13.53.23.png

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Mon Dec 18 12:10:07 2023 UTC)

In the above-mentioned interview for Fox News (archived here), Zelenskyy can be heard saying: "Do this: Not build roads for today. Don't do it. Spend all your money on the weapon, on the drones, on the society, on the pensions, and et cetera. ... We have only one enemy, this is Putin." The Ukrainian president did say these words, but they were taken out of context.

Listening to the full section of the interview (archived here), it becomes clear that Zelenskyy was not addressing international leaders or the Romanian public, but Ukrainian mayors, who he felt were not contributing enough to the war effort. He did not beg Western or European leaders to send all their money to Ukraine.

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  Ioana Burtea

Ioana Burtea has worked in journalism for 15 years. She started her career at Mediafax news agency in Bucharest and has written for DoR magazine for over seven years. Her collaborations include publications like Europe & Me, New Eastern Europe, Balkan Insight and Washington Post. Ioana published pieces on the justice system in Romania, social affairs, politics and personal essays. In 2018,  she became a fellow of the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network.  In 2021, she received the first prize in the Portrait category at the national Superscrieri journalism awards.

Read more about or contact Ioana Burtea

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