Frustrated Zelensky says Ukraine’s war effort is being underestimated

Frustrated Zelensky says Ukraine’s war effort is being underestimated


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Kyiv: President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine has expressed frustration over what he has labelled unrealistic expectations for rapid success on the battlefield amid concerns that slow progress against entrenched Russian forces will discourage Kyiv’s allies from sustaining military aid.

“The modern world quickly gets accustomed to success,” Zelensky said in his nightly address Tuesday, complaining that Ukrainian troops’ achievements “are perceived as a given”.

Frustrated; Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.Credit: Reuters

Zelensky’s comments came as the Biden administration seeks congressional approval for a $US105 billion ($164 billion) aid package that includes assistance for both Israel and Ukraine. But some Republicans oppose sending more aid to Ukraine — and have moved to separate the funding request from aid for Israel.

Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin warned senators on Tuesday that if they cut off funding to Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin of Russia would win the war.

Funding for Ukraine has become a toxic issue among Republicans. Some argue that too much money has already been spent on backing Kyiv’s war effort with little progress to show for it, and support prioritising military aid to Israel in its war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

“The American taxpayers have become weary of funding a never-ending stalemate in Ukraine with no vision for victory,” eight US House Republicans wrote in a letter addressed to President Joe Biden on Tuesday.

While the naysayers represent a minority overall in Congress, the shift in Republican sentiment has left Ukraine’s boosters in the party angry, alarmed and working to figure out how to reverse the trend before a lapse in funding hampers Ukraine on the battlefield.

The aid package put forward by the Biden administration includes over $US60 billion for Ukraine, which would help Kyiv sustain what has largely become a war of attrition against Moscow.

In an effort to hamper Moscow’s fighting abilities, Ukraine has increasingly targeted Russian military equipment and depots using long-range strikes. And to sustain what many analysts believe will be a protracted fight, Ukraine has stepped up its domestic weapons production, committing over $US1billion to drone manufacturing.

However, analysts say that with the current growth of military production in Russia, Moscow will likely have a material advantage on the battlefield in the coming months. Which is why continued assistance from allies such as the United States — Kyiv’s largest military backer — is critical, according to Ukrainian officials.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

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