Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has expressed confidence that the United States and other Western countries will continue to support Ukraine in its battle to repel Russia’s invasion.
Speaking during an end-of-year news conference on Tuesday, Zelenskyy said that financial assistance plays a crucial role in the country’s efforts to drive back Russian forces that poured over the border in February 2022. He also suggested that Ukraine could mobilise 500,000 more people in order to fight on.
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“We are working very hard on this, and I am certain the United States of America will not betray us, and that on which we agreed in the United States will be fulfilled completely,” Zelenskyy said.
The address comes as support for Ukraine in Western countries comes under greater pressure, with conservatives in the United States expressing doubts about continued assistance and stalling the passage of a substantial aid package.
Leaders in the US Senate said on Tuesday that the package was not likely to move forward before the end of the year.
Zelenskyy, who has previously warned that such delays benefit Russian President Vladimir Putin, said that a Trump victory in the 2024 US elections could have “a very strong impact on the course of the war” if he pursued a policy towards Ukraine that was “more cold or more economical”.
The Ukrainian leader also said that he was sure that the European Union (EU) would move forward with a 50-billion-euro ($55bn) aid package of its own, despite opposition from Hungary, whose right-wing government has raised objections to further assistance for Ukraine.
“I’m confident that we have already achieved all this,” Zelenskyy said. “The question now is one of a certain matter of time.”
However, support for Ukraine has become a divisive issue in Western countries after a long-awaited counteroffensive over the summer failed to win back substantial territory and the war grinds on.
The Russian invasion, which has been accused of including war crimes, has devastated Ukrainian cities, displaced millions of people, and killed at least 10,000 civilians, according to the United Nations.
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Zelenskyy said that he is weighing the possibility of mobilising an additional 500,000 troops, adding that he had asked the military for more details on this “very sensitive matter”.
Speaking on Tuesday, Putin said that Russia was open to negotiations with Ukraine, the US, and Europe but added that Russia “will not give up what is ours”.
“The West isn’t abandoning its strategy of containment of Russia and its aggressive goals in Ukraine,” Putin said. “Well, we also aren’t going to abandon the goals of the special military operation.”