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16 Apr, 2024 14:46

US politicians ‘don’t care’ about Ukraine – Zelensky

The stalling of American aid is a “disgrace,” the leader has claimed
US politicians ‘don’t care’ about Ukraine – Zelensky

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has accused US politicians of playing political games around the issue of aid for Kiev, claiming that they do not care how many people in his country are dying.

Zelensky’s comments come as US lawmakers prepare to vote on a controversial aid package for Ukraine that has been stalled in Congress for months due to a bitter dispute between Democrats and Republicans.

In an interview on Monday, Zelensky referred to comments made at the weekend by Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson. The US politician told Fox News that he planned to move forward with a vote on an aid bill for Israel this week, without specifying when a Ukraine package would be taken up, or whether it would be tied to funding for West Jerusalem.

“This is pure politics, and it’s a disgrace for the world and a disgrace for democracy,” Zelensky told PBS NewsHour. “Nobody cares how many people are dying in Ukraine every day. They only care about their approval ratings,” he added.

Johnson has since promised to advance the long-stalled Ukraine aid bill sought by President Joe Biden this week, multiple news outlets reported on Monday. Johnson reportedly told Republican colleagues at a closed-door meeting that he intends to allow the House to vote on a standalone bill in the coming days that would ensure additional military aid for Kiev. The House will also be expected to vote on separate bills providing more assistance to Israel and Taiwan.

House Republicans have previously refused to back the foreign aid bill unveiled by Biden in October, which includes $61 billion in assistance for Ukraine.

The legislation has been held up for months as the GOP tries to force the White House to crack down on the influx of illegal immigrants via the southern US border. Biden’s 2024 election rival, former President Donald Trump, previously urged Republicans to block the bill, arguing against unconditional aid for Ukraine.

The delay in approving more weapons for Ukraine has rattled Zelensky and other officials in Kiev, who are blaming mounting battlefield losses on shortages of foreign-supplied ammunition and air defenses.

In his interview with PBS, Zelensky reiterated that without the US support, Ukraine “will have no chance of winning” in its conflict with Russia.

Moscow, meanwhile, has repeatedly stated that no amount of foreign assistance will change the outcome of the fighting, and has accused the West of escalating the hostilities.

On Tuesday, Zelensky signed a contentious mobilization proposal into law, giving his government more powers to enforce conscription and punish draft dodgers. It also obliges local authorities and the police to help the military in its mobilization efforts. The bill does not contain a clause allowing soldiers to return home after three years of service, which had been the policy before the current conflict began in February 2022.