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18 Apr, 2024 08:28

Zelensky blames EU for Russian advance

The West’s failure to provide enough arms and money is the only reason Ukraine is suffering setbacks, the president has claimed
Zelensky blames EU for Russian advance

A shortage of Western arms supplies and unkept promises by EU members have allowed Russia to advance on the battlefield, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky told senior European officials on Wednesday.

Zelensky made the claims during a video conference address to national leaders and senior members of the EU bureaucracy, who have convened for a two-day summit in Brussels.

The Ukrainian leader reiterated that his country needs more Western material and financial assistance to continue its armed conflict with Russia.

“Now the Russian army feels its strength in almost everything related to the armed component. And it is precisely because of this strength – in artillery, in equipment, in the ability to operate in the sky – that they are putting pressure on us at the front and are gradually moving,” he said.

Although he thanked Kiev’s donors for their aid, Zelensky also complained of unfulfilled promises.

“Unfortunately, we have not yet seen a million artillery shells from the European Union that were discussed so much. Also, some other initiatives have not yet been fully implemented, and this is primarily reflected in what our soldiers can use at the front,” he stated.

Russian President Vladimir Putin believes “he will succeed in his counteroffensive,” Zelensky claimed, adding that “the only root of this hope is the shortage of weapons among our soldiers.”

In addition to offensive systems, Kiev wants more Western air defenses to protect its industrial base, as well as investment and technology to launch domestic arms production. It also requires electricity to compensate for the destruction of power facilities destroyed by Russian precision strikes, and according to Zelensky needs “energy of spirit” in the form of accelerated accession to the EU.

“We need the European Union to deliver what it had promised, and our people need to see Ukraine moving closer to full membership,” Zelensky insisted, urging Brussels to progress to the next phase of talks in June.

Analysis published by Politico on Wednesday cited the refusal of Ukrainians to enroll into the military as a major problem for Kiev. EU statistics body Eurostat estimates the number of fighting age Ukrainian men living in member states at some 650,000. Most of them arranged to be smuggled across the border, the outlet said.

This week, Zelensky signed into law a bill that makes it easier for conscription officials to issue summonses and imposes harsh punishments for avoiding the draft.