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Zelensky calls for 'vital' US aid for Ukraine

Photo: Tobias Schwarz Agence France-Presse Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during a speech in Munich, Germany.

Sophie Makris – Agence France-Presse and Isabelle Le Page – Agence France-Presse in Munich

7:11 p.m.

  • Europe

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Saturday launched an urgent appeal to his Western allies, primarily Americans, to deliver more weapons to the country, particularly long-range ones, after one of the most significant Russian victories in eastern Ukraine.

If the leader was stunned by the forced withdrawal of the army, announced overnight, from the Ukrainian town of Avdiïvka, he did not let anything appear during his speech on Saturday at the Munich Security Conference, Germany.

But his message is clear: “our actions are limited only by the quantity and scope of the range of our forces — which does not depend on us,” he told the officials gathered for this high mass. of world diplomacy, as Ukraine enters its third year of war.

“We can get our land back. And Putin may lose. This has already happened more than once on the battlefield,” he argued.

However, he lamented that Ukraine was “kept in an artificial deficit of weapons, particularly artillery and long-range capabilities.” This lack “allows Putin to adapt to the current intensity of the war.”

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kyiv has been asking its allies for months for long-range weapons capable of hitting Russian troops more deeply.

A problem that German Chancellor Olaf Scholz carefully avoided on Saturday. “Step by step, we always decide the right thing to do at the right time,” he replied, meaning that the delivery of these weapons was not on the agenda.

Harris-Zelensky reunion

kyiv wants Berlin to equip it with Taurus, one of the most modern and effective missiles in the German Air Force.

The German government is reluctant, for fear that Russian territory would also be hit by these precision weapons, potentially leading to an escalation of the conflict.

Olaf Scholz recalled that Germany – the second largest contributor in absolute value after the United States – was a key supporter of Ukraine's defense and had just proven it again by signing, on Friday, a bilateral security agreement anchoring in the duration of aid to Ukraine.

Volodymyr Zelensky signed a similar document with France, during a trip to Paris, where Emmanuel Macron also promised Kiev “up to three billion euros” in “additional” military aid » this year.

Germany has planned seven billion euros in support for Ukraine for 2024, including a new package of arms deliveries worth 1.1 billion euros detailed on Friday.

But the situation is still blocked in the United States: kyiv has been hoping for months for a vote on crucial aid of some $60 billion decided by Joe Biden's government and hampered by a Republican opposition under the influence of Donald Trump.

Volodymyr Zelensky said on Saturday that he had discussed the situation on the front on the telephone with Joe Biden and said he believed with the American president in a “wise decision” by the American Congress.

“I am pleased to have the full support of the American President. We also believe in the wise decision of the US Congress,” Mr. Zelensky wrote on the Telegram messenger.

The United States must deliver “what it promised” to Ukraine, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg demanded.

If the European and Canadian efforts are welcome, “the most important decision is that of the United States to agree on an aid package, due to the scale and military capabilities” of the pillar country of the Alliance, he insisted.

“Political games”

American Vice-President Kamala Harris tried to reassure Volodymyr Zelensky during interviews in Munich, where she had already met him two years ago, “five days before the Russian invasion,” she recalled.

On aid to Ukraine, “there is bipartisan support. […] we are unshakeable. And it has nothing to do with an electoral cycle,” said Ms. Harris, who warned against “political games” in the midst of the campaign for the November presidential election in the United States.

Ukraine's president called pending U.S. aid “vital.”

His European tour was overshadowed by the announcement of the death in prison of Alexeï Navalny, Vladimir Putin's number one opponent, further extinguishing any hope of openness in Moscow.

If Ukraine is once again at the heart of the debates at the Munich Conference, which ends on Sunday, the deadly conflict between Israel and Hamas, the humanitarian catastrophe in the Gaza Strip and the threat climbing in the Middle East, also kept the participants busy.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116