President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine denied on Wednesday that his country was responsible for an early morning drone attack on the Kremlin, saying that Russia was blaming Ukraine because it had lost other means of mustering domestic support for its invasion of his country.
“Russia has no victories to report,” Mr. Zelensky said during a visit to Helsinki, the Finnish capital, where he met with the leaders of five Nordic nations. Speaking through an interpreter, he said that Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin, had resorted to claims that Ukraine tried to assassinate him because he had failed on the battlefield and lost the respect of the world.
“Because of that, he has to do some unexpected moves like surprise drone attacks,” Mr. Zelensky said in response to a question about Russia’s claim that it had destroyed two Ukrainian drones that had been aimed at Mr. Putin’s residence at the sprawling Kremlin fortress in central Moscow.
Mr. Zelensky flatly denied that his country had carried out any such attack, saying Ukraine was focused on the fight on its own soil. “We’re defending our villages and cities,” he said.
Mr. Zelensky added that Ukraine did not have the weapons to spare on such an attack and that it would be up to an eventual international tribunal to decide the Russian leader’s fate.
“We didn’t attack Putin,” he said. “We leave it to the tribunal.”
Mr. Zelensky was in Finland to meet with Finland’s president, Sauli Niinistö, and the leaders of Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Sweden to discuss topics including the war in Ukraine and the country’s bid to join NATO. For most of the first year of the war set off by Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022, Mr. Zelensky remained in Ukraine, but has made a handful of international trips since visiting the United States and Poland in December.
During a news conference with the Nordic leaders, Mr. Zelensky congratulated Finland for joining NATO, a process it completed last month, and wished Sweden a speedy completion to its bid to becoming NATO’s 32nd member nation.
“Ukraine can and must be the 33rd member,” he said. “We understand that at a time of aggression, it’s impossible to fulfill Ukraine’s accession to the alliance, but there is no obstacle to it.”