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Desperate Zelenskyy Calls on European, US Allies to Release Aid

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made Wednesday a renewed call on allies in Europe and the U.S. to continue to back Kyiv, as disputes in Brussels and Washington hold up new aid packages.

He was speaking ahead of a meeting with the leaders of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, in which he will seek financial support for more weapons production.

“You can’t win without help,” Zelenskyy told reporters after talks with Norway’s Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store.

“But you can’t lose, because (all) you have (is) your country.”

In both the U.S. and the European Union, internal disagreements are holding up aid packages for Ukraine worth billions of dollars.

With the counteroffensive launched by Ukraine in July failing to yield the anticipated results, Zelenskyy is trying to bolster support.

He was due to meet later Wednesday with Norway’s King Harald before joining the summit with the five Nordic leaders and wants them to help finance Ukraine’s manufacture of NATO-compatible weapons.

Nordic backing

In an op-ed published Wednesday in the Financial Times, the five Nordic leaders said “Ukraine cannot defend itself against Russia with only words. The war is not won without weapons.

“Now is not the time to tire,” they added.

Zelenskyy, after a visit Sunday to Argentina for the inauguration of libertarian President Javier Milei, traveled to the United States in a last-ditch plea for more military aid.

But a divided Congress is still to approve a fresh $60-billion aid package.

Since the start of the war in February 2022, the Nordic countries have been major donors to Kyiv.

Earlier this year Norway announced a civilian and military aid package of 6.8 billion euros ($7.3 billion) to Ukraine over 2023-2027.

On Wednesday, Oslo announced it was donating just over 250 million euros to Ukraine as part of this package, as well as new much-needed anti-air defense weapons. Ukraine is facing heavy Russian bombing.

More than 50 people were injured overnight in a missile strike on Kyiv.

Norway and Denmark have already provided Ukraine with tanks, weapons and munitions and have pledged F-16 fighters to the Ukrainian army.

Sweden is considering donating Gripen fighter jets.

‘Prove Putin wrong’

When they meet in Brussels on Thursday, European leaders will discuss the opening of EU membership talks with Ukraine and a push to give Kyiv 50 billion euros ($54 billion) in aid over the next four years.

But they face opposition from Hungary, Russia’s closest ally in the bloc.

“We must give Ukraine what it needs to be strong today,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told MEPs on Wednesday.

U.S. President Joe Biden, speaking after talks with Zelenskyy on Tuesday, warned that Russian President Vladimir Putin was banking on the United States abandoning Ukraine.

“We must, we must, we must prove him wrong,” said Biden. Letting Ukraine lose would embolden Putin “and would-be aggressors everywhere,” he added.

Biden said he had approved a further $200 million in U.S. military aid to tide Ukraine over for the coming weeks.

But without a deal in Congress, funding could dry up by the end of the year, the White House warned.

U.S. Republicans are insisting that renewing Ukraine aid depends on the Democrats agreeing to measures on U.S.-Mexico border security and immigration reform.

Moscow meanwhile claimed fresh battlefield advances and predicted Tuesday that any new assistance for Kyiv would be a “fiasco.”

Source : Daily Sabah