Gamed by Zelensky: Ukraine Uses Toxic Pick-up Tactics to Get What it Wants

Kiev has become adept at manipulating its supporters to bend to its whims.

How many times have Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky and his entourage dissed their Western friends for not meeting Kiev’s expectations?

In just the latest example, Zelensky adviser Mikhail Podoliak called Western institutions like the International Atomic Energy Agency, the International Red Cross, and Amnesty International “fictitious organizations that pollute our consciousness with absolutely rubbish assessments.” He also attacked the United Nations as a “rather absent organization” and a “public relations office or a lobby office to earn money for a happy old age for people occupying certain leadership positions.”

He’s starting to sound like your average anti-globalist, which isn’t exactly the team that’s sponsoring him. 

There’s a pretty easy explanation, though. It’s like when a dude who’s a solid two out of ten on the attractiveness scale wants to get with someone whom he considers to be a solid ten. So in an attempt to cut his object of interest down to his level, he starts making snide little insults suggesting that she isn’t that hot, like, “Hey, did you break your nose, or was it always like that?” It’s a notorious pick-up technique known as ‘negging’.

Ukraine is famously corrupt, and that corruption is routinely evoked as a reason why the EU can’t currently commit to making it a member. Kiev does say, though, that it’ll be ready to join the EU in two years – which is like an arsonist saying they’ll be ready to join the fire department in two years because they’re confident that their fire-starting habit will be squared away by then – even though they just burned down a building last week.

On top of being friend-zoned by the EU, there’s also the fact that NATO won’t make a firm commitment to Ukraine either, beyond using it to get the attention of the true object of its obsessions: Russia. So Zelensky’s entourage has started negging all of these major Western-led institutions, effectively saying, “We’re not corrupt… YOU’RE corrupt! All this talk about dating down and not being able to commit to Ukraine because of your lofty standards, but you’re not exactly great catches yourselves.” That’s the message.

On top of the negging, there’s also been the guilt-tripping. German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock wouldn’t cough up the Taurus long-range missiles that Zelensky wanted during a visit to Kiev this week, resulting in Ukraine’s top diplomat accusing Berlin of “wasting time,” and saying Kiev would get the weapons eventually anyway. Baerbock ended up offering €20 million ($21.5 million) as a consolation prize, which should buy Berlin about ten minutes of silence in the same way that parents pay off their mouthy kids with candy so they can watch their favorite TV show in peace and quiet. The root cause of the kid being a demanding, pretentious, spoiled brat is never actually addressed if you just keep appeasing him. And the root cause here is Ukraine’s total unwillingness to negotiate with Russia, with Zelensky saying he is “not interested” in talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Instead, Zelensky talks about the problem being “Russia remaining on Ukrainian territory” while totally ignoring the fact that he allowed his country to become a flop house for Washington’s aggressive regime-change interests. 

And beyond the negging and guilt-tripping, there have also been the not-so-subtle threats.

Zelensky hasn’t hesitated to threaten the EU while simultaneously demanding entry into it. One reason is that Poland, Hungary and Slovakia have imposed bans on dumping Ukrainian grain into their territory, after a similar EU-level measure expired last week. A glut of grain, which would flood the market and drive down the price of their own farmers’ supply, is particularly an issue for Poland ahead of its national elections this autumn.

“Ukraine is strongly against any further restrictions on the export of our grain,” Zelensky said in response to the continued ban. “Ukraine is fighting for life and for our common European values on the battlefield… if we have to fight for Ukraine and the foundations of our common Europe in arbitration, we will fight… If we need to fight on the platforms of international organizations, we will fight there as well.” Who knew that a guy getting showered with taxpayer cash from the entire Western world would turn out to be such a big defender of free markets? It’s kind of like when Team Zelensky effectively vowed to clean up Wall Street last year by threatening big Western financial institutions, like JPMorgan Chase, Citi, and HSBC, and their managers, with war crimes prosecution for engaging with companies that sell and trade Russian oil or gas or in Russian energy shares, like Gazprom, Rosneft, Lukoil, and Vitol. 

And just this week, Zelensky explained in an interview to The Economist that there’s a real danger to the EU from Ukrainians. He told the publication that if he doesn’t get what he wants in terms of aid, Ukrainian refugees might feel abandoned and if they feel “driven into a corner”, they could react unpredictability. No doubt Ukrainian refugees would appreciate Zelensky describing his own people as some kind of sleeper agents who could activate against the EU if he doesn’t get what he wants. 

Ukraine and the West are starting to look like a couple that persists in a toxic relationship strictly for appearances, worried about what all the neighbors would say if they ever split, and using each other as much as they can until it all ends in tears – or in World War III. 

Rachel Marsden is a columnist, political strategist, and host of independently produced talk-shows in French and English. Her website can be found at

2 thoughts on “Gamed by Zelensky: Ukraine Uses Toxic Pick-up Tactics to Get What it Wants”

  1. The bickering that is going on between the West and Zelensky is a sign of frustration on both sides that their aim to establish a mole near Russian soil through Ukraine would not happen anytime soon. What is unfortunate is that both cash strapped US and EU are no longer willing to shell out any expenditures supporting the war in Ukraine that could surely drain their coffers.

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