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US assistance approval shows Ukraine won’t be abandoned, Zelenskyy says, urging Senate to ratify the aid

Following US House’s aid approval, Zelenskyy sees a firm commitment to Ukraine, urging the Senate to ratify the aid quickly to secure crucial weapons needed for Ukraine’s defense against Russian advances.
Zelenskyy inspecting the construction of defenses.. Photo:
US assistance approval shows Ukraine won’t be abandoned, Zelenskyy says, urging Senate to ratify the aid

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the US House of Representatives’ passage of a $61 billion military aid package for Ukraine on 20 April shows the West will not abandon Ukraine in its fight against the Russian invasion, becoming “a second Afghanistan,” The Guardian reports, referring to the President’s interview with NBC. Afghanistan’s pro-Western government collapsed during the American-led withdrawal in the summer of 2021.

Zelenskyy urged the US Senate to swiftly ratify the aid package, highlighting that Ukraine is fortifying its defenses in anticipation of a possible large-scale Russian offensive before new supplies arrive at the frontline.

“We really need to get this to the final point. We need to get it approved by the Senate … so that we get some tangible assistance for the soldiers on the frontline as soon as possible, not in another six months,” the Ukrainian President said.

In his remarks to NBC, Volodymyr Zelenskyy emphasized that receiving “crucial” weapon systems, including long-range weapons and air defense systems, is essential for Ukraine to fight against Russia, following the House’s approval of the aid that has been stalled for more than six months, The Hill reports.

The US Senate is set to reconvene from recess on 23 April to vote on the House-adopted aid package, with US President Joe Biden promising swift enactment upon its congressional passage. This vote will conclude months of disputes, primarily involving Donald Trump-aligned House Republicans who had blocked debate and vote on the foreign aid package, which includes the Ukraine aid.

Ukraine “will have a chance for victory”

On NBC, Volodymyr Zelenskyy stated that Ukraine is preparing soldiers for a major Russian offensive expected to occur in the coming months, likely before the start of summer.

President Zelensky stressed the importance of receiving specific weapon systems for Ukraine’s victory, saying,

“We will have a chance for victory if Ukraine really gets the weapon system, which we need so much,” he said, emphasizing that aid needs to be focused on providing tangible weapon systems crucial for strengthening the Ukrainian armed forces.

For months, Ukrainian troops have suffered from shell shortages, which degraded their ability to fend off Russian attacks and led to withdrawal from Donetsk Oblast’s city of Avdiivka in February, which Ukraine had successfully defended since its liberation back in 2014. Additionally, Ukraine is low on surface-to-air missiles, which led to an escalated Russian bombing campaign against the Ukrainian power grid and military targets.

Zelenskyy emphasized that Ukraine’s immediate priorities include air-defense systems like the US-made Patriots and long-range missiles such as ATACMS, which have a range of 300km and which the House has urged the Pentagon to provide promptly.

Some really crucial weapon systems, which are hard to get. The long-range artillery. And I really appreciate that it mentions ATACMs, long-range weapons. And it’s important because we need long-range weapons to not lose people on the front line. Because we have casualties because we cannot reach that far. Our weapons are not that long-range. So, we need it, and air defense. This is crucial. These are the priorities now,” Zelenskyy told NBC.

Still no F-16 fielded in Ukraine

Zelenskyy also mentioned on NBC that he cannot provide a timeline for the conflict’s end without clarity on when Ukraine will receive the necessary weapons systems. He noted that although allies have approved sending F-16 fighter jets, Ukraine has yet to receive them. Earlier various sources claimed Ukraine can receive a handful of the first F-16 by mid-summer or shortly before summer.

Now we have all the chance to stabilize the situation and to overtake the initiative,” he said, clarifying that this is the reason why Ukraine actually needs these weapons.

Zelenskyy stated that after receiving necessary military aid, Ukraine could take the initiative and advance in protecting itself once they “have it in our arms.”

“But giving US specific timeline of the war, well, it depends on how soon we get this aid,” he said.

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