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11 Aug, 2023 12:14

Zelensky holds ‘closed talks’ with top British generals

The discussions took place amid growing Western disappointment with the slow progress of Kiev’s counteroffensive
Zelensky holds ‘closed talks’ with top British generals

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky says he has held talks with the UK's top military leadership and has stated that more weapons are being readied for delivery to Kiev.

In a video address published to his Telegram channel on Wednesday, Zelensky described the meeting as “closed, but productive.” He did not, however, elaborate on any specific details of the talks, stating only that new packages of military aid are being prepared for Ukraine, including air defense systems. 

His statement came on the same day that the head of his office, Andrey Ermak, said representatives of the Ukrainian army had also held talks with the US military, specifically with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley.

“On behalf of Vladimir Zelensky, a meeting was held in the format of a videoconference between representatives of the military-political leadership of Ukraine and the United States, dedicated to the situation at the frontline as well as defense cooperation,” wrote Ermak in a Telegram post, calling it “a very substantive and fundamental conversation.”

He said that Ukrainian commanders briefed US officials on the current situation on the battlefield and reported on the offensive actions of Kiev’s troops in key sectors. 

Ermak noted that during the talks, the Ukrainian side emphasized the key needs of its forces as well as the need to increase the defenses of Ukrainian cities and infrastructure to repel Russian air strikes.

The US officials reassured Kiev that it will receive support “for as long as it is needed,” the presidential aide said.

Ukrainian officials have consistently been demanding more and more military support from the US and its allies – even more so since it launched its much-anticipated counteroffensive earlier this summer.

Meanwhile, a number of Western officials have expressed concern that Kiev’s counterattack may have already run out of steam and will most likely fail to achieve its goal of pushing Russian forces back to Ukraine’s 1991 borders. 

In an interview with the Washington Post published on Thursday, Polish President Andrzej Duda stated that Ukraine needs significantly more military assistance to have a chance at changing the balance of the conflict and getting the upper hand.

Moscow, in turn, has repeatedly urged the West to stop “pumping” weapons into Ukraine, warning that continued military aid will only prolong the conflict and inflict more destruction upon the country, without changing the final outcome.