Ukrainians ‘would fight with shovels’ – foreign minister
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba has warned that “time is running out” for US lawmakers to approve additional military aid to Kiev, claiming that costs for Western nations will be far higher if Russian forces are allowed to defeat the former Soviet republic.
Providing more money and weapons to Ukraine will help the US and its NATO allies avoid a direct confrontation with Russia, Kuleba said in an ABC News interview posted on Monday. “Whatever the price of supporting Ukraine is now, the price of fixing the mess in the world if Ukraine loses will be much, much higher,” he added.
Washington, the biggest sponsor of what some US politicians have called a “proxy war” in Ukraine, has run out of money for Kiev after burning through $113 billion in congressionally approved aid packages. President Joe Biden’s latest funding request, which includes $61.4 billion in additional military and financial assistance for Ukraine, has stalled because of increasing opposition from Republican lawmakers. Senator J.D. Vance and other Republican critics have argued that Biden lacks a strategy for victory in Ukraine and is merely prolonging the bloodshed by continuing to send aid.
Kuleba claimed that a Russian victory in Ukraine would send a dangerous message to other adversaries of the US. “If the West is not able to stop Russia in Ukraine, who else is it able to stop in other parts of the world?” he asked. The diplomat vowed that Ukrainians “would fight with shovels” if they run out of weapons.
ABC noted that Russian forces have made territorial gains in recent weeks and have taken the upper hand in terms of firepower. However, Kuleba argued that the gains were “minimal,” and he denied that Russian President Vladimir Putin is now in a stronger position. “Hitler pretended to be very strong for many years, and we all know how it ended,” he said.
Asked about drone attacks in Moscow’s territory, the Ukrainian FM said it was important to show that the conflict was having an adverse impact on the Russian people. “President Putin must explain to his people why all of this is happening,” he said.
Kuleba also brushed off a report last week showing that an internal Pentagon investigation found the US had failed to properly track more than $1 billion worth of weaponry sent to Ukraine. “Everything you give to us is used for the best purpose of ending this war with Ukraine’s victory as soon as possible,” he said.
The diplomat insisted that reports of US weapons being trafficked from Ukraine to other parts of the world were “fake,” adding “So don’t believe in fakes, believe in Ukraine.”