Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Graig Graziosi

Former Zelensky spokeswoman fires back at Candace Owens


Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky's former press secretary fired back at right-wing provocateur Candace Owens after she criticised US support of Ukraine in its defence against Russia's invasion.

Mediaite reported that Iulia Mendel, now a journalist but formerly Mr Zelensky's press secretary, appeared on Newsmax TV on Tuesday when she made the comments condemning Ms Owens.

She told Newsmax anchor Eric Bolling that while the US may not want to be in Russia, neither do the Ukrainian people.

Ms Owens falsely claimed that "Ukraine wasn't a thing until 1989" during a Daily Wire show last week. She went on to repeat Russian President Vladimir Putin's war justification that Ukraine is simply a part of Russia and not its own sovereign state.

"It was, you know, they speak Russian. So, it’s absolutely ridiculous. And, again, this entire episode has been exposing to you how ignorant people are about the goals of Vladimir Putin," she said. "He has goals. The goal is not just to get rid of Ukrainians. That makes entirely no sense. It would not be helpful for him."

Beyond Ms Owens' seeming defence of Mr Putin, she's also wrong. Ukrainians speak Ukrainian, which has its roots in the same Slavic language as Belarusian and Russian, but is its own language, not a dialect. Ukrainian shares about 62 per cent of its vocabulary with Russian, which is comparable to the amount of vocabulary shared between English and Dutch. Some Ukrainians who live in the eastern part of the country do also speak Russian.

Iuliia Mendel, a journalist and former spokeswoman for Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky, responds to comments made by Candace Owens regarding the Russian invasion of Ukraine (screengrab)

On Newsmax, Ms Mendel was asked by Mr Bolling about the "small group of conservative people here in America who say that we should not be getting involved in the war,” before playing a soundbite of Ms Owens' response to Media Matters reporting on her comments.

"They want us engaged in this conflict. We have serious war hawks, and this is across party lines, Republicans and Democrats, who understand the profit margins when you are engaged in a war," she said in the comment. "And people like me don’t want to be engaged in a war. I don’t think we should be engaged in a war, and I don’t think that by watering down this conversation and trying to convince a bunch of Americans of stupid things, that it’s going to help any."

Ms Mendel responded to her comments, reminding Ms Owens that the Ukrainians didn't want the war either, but another nation's actions forced them to respond.

“In fact, Ukraine also doesn’t want to be involved in this war,” she said. “This is only the Russia–the Russian leadership and Russia who attacks the countries. We don’t want to be involved, but it doesn’t matter what we want. Russia just comes to the territory of different country, kills its people, taking the territory.”

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.