Russia & Former Soviet Union

Ukraine can win – Zelensky

A new batch of aid from the US would provide a boost, but only if delivered in time, the president has said

FILE PHOTO: Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky ©  Global Look Press / President Of Ukraine

It is still possible for Kiev to emerge victorious in the conflict with Moscow, now that the US House of Representatives has approved a new military aid package for Ukraine, President Vladimir Zelensky told NBC in an interview on Sunday.

His words came a day after passage of the bill authorizing an additional $61 billion in support for Kiev. The emergency spending had been stalled in Congress since last fall, with some Republican lawmakers concerned that Washington lacked a strategy either for victory or a peace settlement.

”I think this support will really strengthen the armed forces, I pray, and we will have a chance at victory if Ukraine really gets the weapons systems, which we need so much,” Zelensky said. The president also urged the US to wrap up final adoption of the legislation as soon as possible in order to start sending more weapons to Ukrainian forces.

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The bill is yet to be passed by the US Senate, which is scheduled to vote on it on April 23. After that, it proceeds to President Joe Biden, who has said he will sign it.

“We want to help get things as fast as possible so that we get some tangible assistance for the soldiers on the frontline as soon as possible – not in another six months,” the Ukrainian leader said. He also specifically requested more air defense systems and longer-range missiles, arguing that the Ukrainian Armed Forces were suffering losses due to the lack of both.

“We need long-range weapons to not lose people on the frontline because we have, we have casualties because we cannot reach that far,” he said, adding that another delay would mean more casualties. “If we get it in half a year… we’ve had the process stalled for half a year and we’ve had losses in several directions. Losses in men, in equipment.”

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Zelensky admitted, however, that Kiev’s victory is far from assured. “Now we have the chance to stabilize the situation,” he stated. “There are so many variables, so many factors.” He continued to rule out talks with Moscow, claiming that neither President Vladimir Putin nor any high-ranking Russian officials could be trusted.

The aid package authorized by the House is not solely intended for new weapons shipments. According to Politico, the biggest chunk of the money ($23 billion) will go to replenishing US stocks already used to provide arms to Ukraine.

Only about $14 billion would go to the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, which the Pentagon uses to buy new weapons systems for Kiev from US defense contractors, according to the Guardian. Another $10 billion in aid was designated as a repayable loan to appease some Republicans, the British paper said.

Moscow has responded by reiterating that Washington is causing Kiev to “fight to the last Ukrainian” with its weapon shipments. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova also said that the US would eventually end up facing a “loud and humiliating fiasco on a par with Vietnam or Afghanistan.”


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