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Zelenskiy Pushes Western Allies for Increased Aid and Involvement in Ukraine War Amid Rising Pressures

During a private interview with Reuters in Kyiv on May 20, 2024, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy of Ukraine urged Western partners to accelerate their military assistance and increase their direct engagement in the ongoing conflict with Russia. He stressed the immediate requirement for aid in intercepting Russian missiles and the tactical deployment of Western armaments against hostile forces gathering near Ukraine’s borders.

Zelenskiy expressed his dissatisfaction with the sluggishness of decision-making by Western allies, on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of his inauguration. He emphasized that each crucial choice has been postponed by approximately one year, underscoring the necessity for a fundamental change in the way assistance is provided.

Clad in his distinctive khaki T-shirt and trousers, the Ukrainian president characterized the present state of the battlefield as “one of the most challenging” since Russia’s comprehensive invasion in February 2022. Over the past few weeks, Russian forces have violated the borders of northeastern Ukraine, intensifying the pressure on Kyiv’s defensive capabilities. Intense conflicts in the Donbas region have led to substantial territorial setbacks for Ukraine.

“There is currently a highly intense conflict occurring in Donbas,” Zelenskiy remarked. “The presence of additional conflicts in the eastern part of the country, particularly in the Donbas region, namely Kurakhove, Pokrovsk, and Chasiv Yar, goes largely unnoticed by the general population.” Nevertheless, he confidently stated that the situation in the northern region of Kharkiv was currently “managed” or “regulated.”

Zelenskiy restated his plea for expedited military assistance from the United States and other allied nations. He emphasized the significance of air defenses, highlighting that Russia has launched several missiles and drones towards Ukraine. “300 aircraft are being utilized by Russians within the borders of Ukraine.” “We require a minimum of 120 to 130 aircraft to maintain aerial superiority,” he emphasized, highlighting the pressing necessity for U.S.-engineered F-16s and other aviation assets.

He suggested that adjacent NATO nations should assist by intercepting incoming Russian missiles above Ukrainian airspace, thereby greatly bolstering Ukraine’s defensive capabilities. In addition, Zelenskiy spoke to the ongoing discussions with international allies over the utilization of their weaponry to specifically target Russian military equipment at the border and within Russia. However, he acknowledged that, thus far, no favorable outcomes have been achieved.

Zelenskiy recognized the potential for an increase in intensity but stressed the importance of taking such measures in order to safeguard the lives of Ukrainians. He expressed disapproval of the global community’s reluctance to provoke Russia, asserting that the acceptance of Ukrainian casualties has become normalized and does not constitute an escalation for people.

Ukraine is getting ready for negotiations in Switzerland with the goal of consolidating worldwide consensus against Moscow on the global platform. Zelenskiy emphasized the significance of extensive involvement, including China’s participation, in exerting pressure on Russia to address the concerns of the international community as a whole, rather than solely focusing on Ukraine.

Zelenskiy gave assurance that Republicans are not opposed to providing assistance to Ukraine, despite certain worrisome messages, in response to concerns about potential shifts in U.S. support due to the impending elections. He expressed appreciation to the Ukrainian people for their perseverance and reaffirmed his confidence in achieving ultimate triumph, despite present obstacles.

“I believe it is necessary for us to continue on this path until its completion, ideally achieving a triumphant outcome,” stated Zelenskiy. “Although contemporary individuals may harbor some skepticism towards the term ‘victory,’ I comprehend the challenge it presents due to its protracted nature.”

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