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26 Nov, 2023 10:00

Ukraine needs three victories – Zelensky

Kiev has to work out issues with the US Congress and the EU to keep getting aid, the Ukrainian president says
Ukraine needs three victories – Zelensky

Ukraine needs to achieve three key breakthroughs in negotiations with Western allies to maintain crucial support, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky admitted during a press conference on Friday. Among the challenges he listed were the approval of large aid packages from the US and the EU.

Zelensky accused Russia of “exploiting various challenges in the world” to “divert attention from any assistance” to his country, adding that “responsible states” are doing everything they can to return that focus.

“We need three victories. The first is with Congress. It's a challenge. It's not easy,” Zelensky said.

The second 'victory' to be achieved is to secure €50 billion ($55 billion) in aid from the EU, which has not yet been approved. “Not everyone in the EU is ready to support this package today. Our task is to make sure everyone supports this package,” the president stated.

The third success Ukraine seeks is a decision by Brussels to start negotiations on Ukraine’s EU membership, Zelensky said, calling it “a significant motivational step.”

Earlier this month, US President Joe Biden’s administration failed to push a $105 billion spending package through Congress, with much of that money intended for Kiev. Instead, the president had to sign a stopgap funding plan excluding Ukraine assistance to avert a government shutdown.

At about the same time, the EU’s €50 billion package of loans and grants was blocked, due to objections from member states including Hungary. 

As for negotiations on Ukraine’s accession to the EU, according to Reuters, Brussels could postpone formal membership talks, which were scheduled for December, until March 2024, as some leaders have proposed returning to the issue only after the European Commission has had a chance to assess whether Kiev has met all the conditions.

Kiev’s troops continue to suffer significant losses on the front line. According to Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu, the Ukrainian army has lost more than 13,700 soldiers and 1,800 tanks and other heavy weaponry since the beginning of November. As of late October, Moscow estimated that Kiev had suffered over 90,000 casualties since the beginning of the June counteroffensive.