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25 Nov, 2023 09:15

Ukrainians must ‘grow up’ – security chief

Aleksey Danilov warned his compatriots that the West would not be “feeding us” indefinitely, adding that harder times lie ahead
Ukrainians must ‘grow up’ – security chief

Ukrainians should not delude themselves by thinking that the West will happily pick up the tab for them in the long run, Aleksey Danilov, the secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, has warned. He has also predicted that the longer the conflict with Moscow lasts, the heavier the toll on Kiev will be.

The top security official’s latest comments came off the back of similar remarks made recently by his colleagues, including President Vladimir Zelensky, who recently acknowledged that the less-than-impressive Ukrainian summer counteroffensive might be dampening Western enthusiasm to further back Kiev.

In an interview with a local Lviv TV station on Friday, Danilov explained that at the outset of hostilities last February, very few in the West believed that Ukraine could withstand the Russian onslaught for long. He added that Western governments mostly did not expect the conflict to drag on for more than a year and a half, meaning that it is becoming ever more difficult for Kiev to get financial support and aid from them at this point.

The further [we go], the more difficult it will be. We have to acknowledge this,” Danilov said.

The security chief advised his compatriots not to think that Ukraine’s backers “will be feeding us all our lives and that we’ll be receiving aid all our lives.

We need to grow up and decide how to develop our country,” Danilov concluded.

Speaking to CNBC on Monday, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen described Ukraine as “utterly dependent” on Western financial aid.

Meanwhile, earlier this month, President Joe Biden’s administration failed to push a massive $105 billion spending package through Congress, a significant part of which was supposed to go to Kiev. The president was forced to sign a stopgap spending bill instead, which only included funding for domestic government agencies.

In June, the European Commission proposed a plan to create a special €50 billion ($54.4 billion) financial aid facility for Ukraine. However, it remains to be seen whether the scheme will materialize, with some member states, such as Hungary, voicing skepticism.

Last month, Ukrainian Finance Minister Sergey Marchenko told Reuters that Kiev had to make “twice the effort right now to convince our partners to provide us with support compared to the last annual meetings” in spring.

Marchenko linked this waning readiness to help Ukraine to looming elections in the US and Europe next year, as well as the escalation between Israel and Hamas in the Middle East.