Representative Dean Phillips (D-Minn.) alleges a zoom screen capture posted by two Republican legislators endangered Ukraine President Volodmyr Zelensky’s security.
Senators Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Steve Daines (R-Mont.) posted screen grabs of Zelenskyy to their Twitter accounts during the Zoom meeting Saturday morning, writing they were on a call with him. Both senators noted there was nothing in the photos that would reveal the Ukrainian president’s location or endanger his security. Indeed, the photos show little more than a seated Zelensky behind a desk, in front of a wall and what appears to be a national ensign to his left.
President Zelensky’s Saturday videoconference call was reportedly attended by almost 300 people. The leader of Ukraine was pleading for planes, the establishment of a “no-fly zone” over his country and an embargo on Russian gas and oil sales. NBC News reported that people participating in the Zoom meeting were explicitly asked not to tweet or post pictures of the call while it was in progress.
“There was no identifying information of any kind,” a Rubio spokesperson reportedly said. “Anybody pretending this tweet is a security concern is a partisan seeking clicks.”
A spokesperson for Daines’s said the senator shared the photo before they were asked to not post images. The staff member accused critics objecting to the post of seeking attention.
“This was a well reported call with over 250 people joining, and it was not a secure or classified briefing,” the spokesperson reportedly said. “The photo was shared before it was requested not to and well into the call, and it had no identifying information. We should be focusing on what’s important here and that’s supporting Ukraine.”
“The only reason why anyone wants to make this an issue is partisan clickbait.”
“President Zelensky made a desperate plea for Eastern European countries to provide Russian-made planes to Ukraine,” said Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) following the call. “These planes are very much needed and I will do all I can to help the administration to facilitate their transfer.”
Several meeting members posted about the meeting after it concluded, among them Representative Jim Himes (D-Ct.)
“A number of us met this morning remotely with President Zelenskyy,” wrote Himes in a Twitter post that came 38 minutes after the post by Daines and Rubio. Himes acknowledged the foreign leader was still fine, saying he is standing strong. “Planes, oil embargo, continued military aid. Profile in courage. We stand with him.”
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