Russian State TV Host Challenges Zelensky to a Duel As He Attends G7 Summit
BY BRENDAN COLE
ON 5/20/23 AT 7:02 AM EDT
Vladimir Solovyov regularly insults Volodymyr Zelensky but in his latest TV program the Kremlin propagandist took his invective towards the Ukrainian president to another level by challenging him to a centuries-old way of settling disputes.
In a clip tweeted by Russia watcher Julia Davis, the host on the Russia 1 channel had no shortage of negative adjectives for Zelensky, whom he lambasted as “small, vile and nasty.”
The anchor then suggested that Zelensky was in fact a viewer of his nightly show and as such, had instructed his intelligence chief, Kyrylo Budanov, “to kill Solovyov.”
“He gets hysterical and throws a fit,” Solovyov said, hinting that he is somehow preoccupying the mind of the Ukrainian leader when he is not otherwise engaged with fighting Russian aggression.
Solovyov then gave his suggestion on how to resolve the imagined beef between the presenter and the Ukrainian leader. “Let’s meet up like men,” he said, without specifying whether or not it should be pistols at dawn, “I got my gun, you got yours, let’s go.”
“Zelensky, you can keep yelling that you can shoot,” Solovyov said. “Come on,” he added, to smirks from fellow studio guests. Solovyov then described Zelensky and Budanov as “cowards” who did not understand that “heroes…never die.”
“They are immortal, but you, nobodies, will turn to ashes,” he added, before scorning proposals for a Ukrainian peace summit and the agenda at the G7 meeting of world leaders in Hiroshima, Japan where Zelensky arrived on Saturday.
“It’s unclear what you are even planning to talk about,” he said, “it will probably be like the conversation between a Patriot system and a Kinzhal—lots of chatter but one result,” he said, “you don’t have a peace plan.”
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“Your Patriot is gone,” Solovyov added, referring to reports that the U.S-supplied missile defense system was damaged in strikes this week, although it was likely not to have been destroyed.
Kyiv said it had managed to intercept a barrage of Russian missiles this week, including six hypersonic nuclear-capable Kinzhals fired on Tuesday, which bolstered confidence in the ability of western supplied defense systems against Moscow’s air attacks.
Zelensky’s visit to Japan comes with the war in his country likely to be top of the agenda. The G7 nations are among the leading backers of Kyiv against Russian aggression and have agreed to tighten sanctions against Moscow.
Meanwhile, the U.S. announced it would help Ukraine get F-16 jet fighters and train pilots on the aircraft that Kyiv has long called for. Washington has not pledged to provide its own jets, although the move has been dubbed an “escalation” by Russia’s deputy foreign minister Alexander Grushko.