Zelenskyy says Ukraine-Russia war not a ‘stalemate’ in interview
President Joe Biden has similarly attempted to draw connections between the wars in Ukraine and Gaza. After Hamas terrorists attacked Israel on Oct. 7, Biden gave an Oval Office speech explaining why it was “vital” to America’s national security that both Ukraine and Israel have the support they need.
“History has taught us that when terrorists don’t pay a price for their terror — when dictators don’t pay a price for their aggression — they cause more chaos and death and more destruction,” Biden said in the address last month. “They keep going, and the costs of the threats to America and the world keep rising.”
“It is difficult to say because I’m a president of a country at war, and you know that on our battlefield it’s very hot,” he said, adding that any possible visit would depend on “what’s happening on the battlefield” in Ukraine and whether it’s possible to get Ukrainian citizens “stranded” in Israel back home. (Commercial flights are not currently departing the country.)
Pleas for more weapons as U.S. support for Ukraine aid wanes
In recent weeks, the fighting between Russia and Ukraine has been focused in and around the city of Avdiivka, a highly sought-after prize that would increase Russian control of the eastern Donbas region. But since Russia began its attacks in the area, its offensive has stalled: Hundreds of men and scores of armored vehicles have been lost, according to a recent report by the Institute for the Study of War.
At the same time, Ukraine has made little progress against entrenched Russian positions on the battlefield, so some U.S. and European leaders are losing hope that its military will soon make significant advances — including reaching the coast near Russia’s frontlines.
Nonetheless, Zelenskyy reiterated his calls for more air defense systems from the U.S., noting that Ukraine particularly needs drones that can attack and gather intelligence. Ukraine has started producing some drones, he said, but needs more. Without such help, Ukrainians would find it difficult to “step forward,” Zelenskyy said.
“We need to save our country. That’s why one of the ways is to co-produce air defense,” Zelenskyy said. “But during this time, during our co-production, our message to the world, to the United States, to Europe, to Asia: to give us some air defense systems, just to use them, just to rent them, rent for this period, especially winter. Winter [is a] very challenging period.”
The Biden administration has already asked Congress for billions more in funding for Ukraine, but it is facing opposition due to a steep decline in House Republicans’ willingness to continue providing such aid.
U.S. public support for the war in Ukraine is also dropping. A Gallup poll in October showed that 41% of people in the U.S. believe it is doing too much to help Kyiv, a significant increase from June, when it was 29%, and from August 2022, when the figure was only 24%.
In the poll, 58% of Americans said the U.S. is doing either the right amount or too little for Ukraine, down from 69% who said so in June.
There is unease among many U.S. government leaders that the conflict is garnering less attention due to the Israel-Hamas war, according to one current and one former senior U.S. official who are familiar with discussions among the U.S., European and Ukrainian governments about possible peace negotiations to end the war. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the discussions.
Those conversations have included very broad outlines of what Ukraine might need to give up to reach a deal, the officials said. Some of the delicate talks, the officials added, took place last month during a meeting of representatives from more than 50 nations supporting Ukraine, known as the Ukraine Defense Contact Group.
Zelenskyy asserted that it is important his country’s allies continue providing support because Kyiv is defending “joint values” such as democracy.
The alternative, he said, is far too dangerous: “If Russia will kill all of us, they will attack NATO countries, and you will send your sons and daughters. And it will be — I’m sorry, but the price will be higher.”
“It’s very important not to lose the will, not to lose this strong position, and not to lose your democracy,” Zelenskyy said, adding: “We wanted your support, like we say, yesterday.”
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