Zelenskyy: More US Weapons Gives Ukraine ‘A Chance’ To Defeat Russia


By Ken Bredemeier

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Sunday that his country has “a chance at victory” over Russia with the new armaments package for Kyiv’s troops that is nearing approval in the U.S. Congress and supported by President Joe Biden.

The House of Representatives, over the opposition of the right-wing flank of the narrow Republican majority in the chamber, voted Saturday for $60.8 billion in new military assistance for Ukraine, with the Senate expected to pass the measure this week and then Biden signing it.

“I think this support will really strengthen the armed forces, I pray … which we need so much, which thousands of soldiers need so much,” Zelenskyy told NBC’s “Meet the Press” show, speaking through an interpreter.

“Then 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 — so that they would be able to move ahead,” he added.

The U.S. is Ukraine’s chief war-time benefactor, but with approval of additional aid stalled for months in Congress, Kyiv’s forces have sustained battlefield losses. The more than two-year fight against Russia’s invasion has virtually stalemated.

After the House voted to approve the assistance to Ukraine, Biden said, “I urge the Senate to quickly send this package to my desk so that I can sign it into law, and we can quickly send weapons and equipment to Ukraine to meet their urgent battlefield needs.”

Gen. Christopher Cavoli, commander of the European Command, told NBC earlier this month that Russia was firing five artillery shells for every one fired by Ukrainian forces. He warned that the disparity could increase soon without more U.S. aid.

Zelenskyy said in the NBC interview, “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. Our weapons are not that long-range.”

“We need [that] and air defense. Those are our priorities right now,” he added.

Asked whether this aid will help Ukraine win the war or just prolong it, Zelenskyy said, “It depends on when we actually get weapons on the ground. … If we get it in half a year — well, we’ve had the process stalled for half a year and we’ve had losses in several directions. Losses in men, in equipment.”

“Now we have the chance to stabilize the situation and to overtake the initiative, and that’s why we need to actually have the weapons systems,” Zelenskyy said. “Giving the U.S. a specific timeline of the war, well it depends how soon they get this aid. There are so many variables, so many factors.”

Zelenskyy also responded to recent accounts that former President Donald Trump, if he wins back the White House in the November election, would pressure Ukraine to give up some territory to Russia in exchange for ending the war, saying, “Rumors and different hearsay, I don’t believe that.”

He also expressed doubt that Russian President Vladimir Putin would ever agree to and abide by such a settlement, saying, “You can never trust Putin.”

“The strategy of ending the war should be based not on the words which Putin says or some other people from his entourage say, but on something very specific, something very tangible in Ukraine that is independent and democratic,” he said.

“I’m confident that everyone is interested in that,” he added. “All the political leaders, they are also interested to have Ukraine independent and sovereign and democratic. It’s of interest for both the Republicans and the Democrats” in the U.S.

Zelenskyy rebuffed complaints that the U.S. has sunk too much money into the war and will continue to have to do so, saying that Americans “first and foremost are protecting freedom and democracy all over Europe.”

“The U.S. Army now does not have to fight protecting NATO countries. Ukrainians are doing that. And it’s only ammo that the civilized world is providing, and I think it’s a good decision,” he said.

The Pentagon says it can quickly get more weaponry into Ukraine once Biden signs the arms package deal.

The Defense Department said it has a network of storage sites in the U.S. and Europe that would allow supplies to be sent to Ukraine within days.

“We would like very much to be able to rush the security assistance in the volumes we think they need to be able to be successful,” Pentagon press secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder told reporters.


The VOA is the Voice of America

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