News

Did Zelenskyy Ask the US for 'Credit' to Fight War Against Russia?

The Ukrainian president reiterated pleas for the United States to supply more weapons.

Published Nov. 9, 2023

 (Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from Washington D.C/Wikimedia Commons)
Image Via Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from Washington D.C/Wikimedia Commons

In November 2023, a number of posts on X claimed Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskyy was asking for loans from the United States in order to keep fighting the ongoing war with Russia.

One post on X said in response to a clip of Zelenskyy, "We are not giving you personal loans to shovel more coke up your nose & to finance your wife’s Parisian shopping sprees."

Another called his actions desperate:

During a Nov. 5, 2023, interview on NBC News’ “Meet the Press” program, Zelenskyy did say: “If you can’t give us some financial support [...] give us a credit, and we will give you back money after the war.” However, he did not ask for a loan, which is different from asking for a line of credit.

The full interview can be found below. He made the statement around the 29-minute mark:

The anchor pointed out how Americans are dealing with high prices at home and asked him: “Should Americans be expected to fund a war in Ukraine indefinitely?” In response Zelenskyy said (emphasis ours):

I appreciate and count on your support. But you should know the people of the United States have to respect also the people of Europe. They helped a lot with money and with [the] military—you should know with some ammunition like air defense. [...] If there is the question through society of the United States about [the] military and about something else. Okay, let's co-produce it. It will be win-win.  [...] if you can't give us some financial support—okay, okay please—give us a credit, and we will give you back money after the war. [We] can buy some ammunition, we will buy, we will defend our jobs, we will have taxes and we will buy from American companies, just allow us and then see.

Zelenskyy is essentially asking for credit from the United States in the form of weaponry and other supplies, when he reiterates right after the request that Ukraine can "buy some ammunition." He suggests that if the U.S. supports Ukraine in the war effort, Ukraine will be able to sustain itself through rebuilding its economy and purchase necessary materials from American companies in return.

A loan, according to Investopedia, means the borrower has access to the funds only once, and then must make principal and interest payments until the debt is paid off. A line of credit, which is what Zelenskyy appears to be asking for, means the borrower receives a set credit limit for spending on goods—like a credit card—and makes regular payments later that include both principal and interest. Unlike a loan, the borrower has continuous access to the line of credit while it is active.

In the same interview, Zelenskyy said Ukraine’s progress in the war against Russia had been slow, and "there is a fatigue” as it stretches on. He also recognized that the Israel-Hamas war meant the U.S. was being asked to provide resources in two different conflicts, and he attempted to align Ukraine’s fight against Russia with Israel’s fight against Hamas. He also accused Russia of sponsoring Hamas.

Sources

"Full Zelenskyy: ‘We Are Not Ready to Give Our Freedom to This f---Ing Terrorist Putin.’" NBC News, Nov. 5, 2023. www.youtube.com, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4J8nyeB2iGs. Accessed 9 Nov. 2023.

“Loan vs. Line of Credit: What’s the Difference?” Investopedia, https://www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/110614/what-difference-between-loan-and-line-credit.asp. Accessed 9 Nov. 2023.

“Russia-Ukraine War Not a ‘stalemate,’ Zelenskyy Tells NBC News in Exclusive Interview.” NBC News, 5 Nov. 2023, https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/zelenskyy-ukraine-russia-war-not-stalemate-rcna123670. Accessed 9 Nov. 2023.

Nur Nasreen Ibrahim is a reporter with experience working in television, international news coverage, fact checking, and creative writing.