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21 Apr, 2024 19:15

Ukraine can win – Zelensky

A new batch of US aid will provide a boost, but only if delivered soon, the president has said
Ukraine can win – Zelensky

Ukraine has a chance of victory in the conflict with Russia now that the US House of Representatives has approved more weapons for Kiev, President Vladimir Zelensky claimed in an interview with NBC on Sunday.

The remarks came a day after a new aid bill, which authorizes an additional $61 billion in support for Ukraine, was passed by American lawmakers. The emergency spending had been stalled in Congress since last fall over concerns from Republicans that Washington lacked a strategy either for victory or a peace settlement.

“I think this support will really strengthen the armed forces, I pray, and we will have a chance at victory if Ukraine really gets the weapons systems, which we need so much,” Zelensky said. He urged the US to wrap up final adoption of the legislation as soon as possible in order to start sending more weapons.

The bill has yet to be passed by the US Senate, which is scheduled to vote on it on April 23. After that, it proceeds to President Joe Biden, who has said he will sign it.

“We want to help get things as fast as possible so that we get some tangible assistance for the soldiers on the front line as soon as possible – not in another six months,” the Ukrainian leader said. He specifically requested more air defense systems and longer-range missiles, arguing that the Ukrainian army is suffering losses due to the lack of both.

“We need long-range weapons to not lose people on the front line because we have, we have casualties because we cannot reach that far,” he said, adding that another delay would mean more casualties. “If we get it in half a year… we’ve had the process stalled for half a year and we’ve had losses in several directions. Losses in men, in equipment.”

Zelensky admitted that victory is far from guaranteed. “Now we have the chance to stabilize the situation,” he stated. “There are so many variables, so many factors.” He continued to rule out talks with Moscow, claiming that neither President Vladimir Putin nor any high-ranking Russian officials can be trusted.

The aid package authorized by the House is not solely intended for new weapons shipments. According to Politico, the biggest chunk of the money ($23 billion) will go to replenishing US stocks already used to provide arms to Ukraine.

Only about $14 billion would go to the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, which the Pentagon uses to buy new weapons systems for Kiev from US defense contractors, according to The Guardian. Another $10 billion in aid was designated as a repayable loan to appease some Republicans, the newspaper said.

Moscow responded by reiterating that Washington is causing Ukraine to “fight to the last Ukrainian” with its weapon shipments. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova predicted that the US will eventually face a “loud and humiliating fiasco on par with Vietnam or Afghanistan.”

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