Zelenskyy says 'critically important' for US to approve aid soon

AFP , Monday 18 Mar 2024

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Monday that a swift decision by the US Congress on billions of dollars of military aid for Ukraine was "critically important", during a meeting with US Senator Lindsey Graham.

Ukraine s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy
Ukraine s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addresses the audience during a press conference as part of the Ukraine Southeast Europe Summit in Tirana. AFP


"It is critically important for us that the Congress soon completes all the necessary procedures and makes a final decision... which will strengthen the Ukrainian economy and our armed forces," Zelenskyy was quoted as saying in a presidential office statement.

A $60 billion aid package for Ukraine has been blocked in the Republican-led House of Representatives as Speaker Mike Johnson insists the funds must be linked to more action against illegal immigration.

Ukrainian troops have reported ammunition shortages as a result of the delay and Russian forces have been advancing along parts of the front line in eastern Ukraine.

"We are at a critical moment for the future of the armed conflict," Graham told reporters after he meets with Zelenskyy.

"America wants to help but we have problems at home we need to start addressing, we have a broken border," he said.

Graham, a South Carolina senator and loyalist of former right-wing president Donald Trump, also said he supported Trump's proposal to give aid to Ukraine in the form of a zero-interest loan.

"This is going to be a new way of doing business. I think it will get more public support back home," he said, adding that the aid could get approval from US lawmakers "in the coming days, not weeks".

Also Monday, Germany's Defence Minister Boris Pistorius said during a trip to Warsaw that his country and Poland wanted to work jointly on producing more ammunition for Ukraine.

"We have just discussed increasing production in Poland, Germany and other countries. We want to work jointly with industrial players," Pistorius said at a press conference, without offering further details.

He also cited a need for increased training of Ukrainian soldiers by Western allies, saying "Together we want to do everything... to ensure the maximum capacities necessary".

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