KYIV — Former U.S. President George W. Bush reckons Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is so tough, he could be from Texas.

Speaking via video chat during a conference in Kyiv on Friday, Bush said he sees Russia’s President Vladimir Putin as an empire builder, who may not stop at invading Ukraine. As for Zelenskyy, Bush joked: “Well he is a tough dude, he is a real Texan.”

Although Bush was born in Connecticut, he was raised in Texas.

Bush also said it would be harder and harder to persuade Americans that helping Ukraine is in their best interest. “First and foremost, Ukraine needs to tackle corruption. [A] recent reshuffle in the government showed me that Zelenskyy wants to do it,” Bush said.

According to Bush, if Putin is not stopped in Ukraine, the U.S. will have to be involved in helping the likes of Poland, Lithuania and Latvia next.

“The condition in Ukraine matters to the security of the U.S. The U.S. still has to support people like Zelenskyy when they show courage,” Bush said.

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