Mon. Feb 26th, 2024

Aid for Kiev: Zelensky castigates ;hesitation of Westerners | War in Ukraine

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (Archive photo)< /p>Agence France-Presse

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Wednesday in Lithuania that Western hesitations over aid deliveries to Kiev were encouraging Vladimir Putin, who wants to “occupy” the entire territory of Ukraine. p>

We need to pay attention to Putin's rhetoric. He's not going to stop. He wants to occupy us completely, Zelensky said during a joint press conference in Vilnius with his Lithuanian counterpart Gitanas Nauseda, during the first leg of his surprise tour of the Baltics.

The hesitations of our partners regarding financial and military aid to Ukraine only increase the courage and strength of Russia.

A quote from Volodymyr Zelensky, President of the x27;Ukraine

Mr. Zelensky arrived in the Lithuanian capital on Wednesday morning before traveling to Estonia and Latvia, three former Soviet republics, now members of NATO and the EU and staunch supporters of Kiev in the face of the Russian invasion.

The visit comes after several waves of intense Russian bombing suffered by Ukraine since the end of December.

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Mr. Zelensky assured the press that in the event of a Ukrainian defeat, other neighbors of Russia risked being attacked.

We must understand that Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Moldova could be the next victims if we do not hold on.

A quote from Volodymyr Zelensky, President of Ukraine

Volodymyr Zelensky also stressed that his country was cruelly lacking in Western anti-aircraft defense systems in the face of intensified bombing. In recent days, Russia struck Ukraine with a total of 500 missiles, we destroyed 70% of them, he explained.

At a meeting in Brussels on Wednesday, NATO countries reaffirmed their commitment to strengthening Ukraine's defenses. They have made clear they will continue to provide Ukraine with significant military, economic and humanitarian aid, and many allies have outlined plans to provide billions of euros in additional capabilities in 2024 , declared the Alliance in a press release.

According to the Ukrainian president, the war in Ukraine will not end until kyiv and the West have finished with the Russian president. He's not going to end this [editor's note, the war] until we, together, are done with him, he said.

These statements come at a time when a European Union (EU) aid package worth 50 billion euros (CA$73 billion) remains blocked in Brussels at following Hungary's veto, while the US Congress remains divided on providing additional assistance to Kiev.

According to a report from the German research center Kiel Institute published in December, aid promised to Ukraine between August and October 2023 fell by almost 90% compared to the same period in 2022, reaching its current level the lowest since the start of the war.

Lithuania is, for its part, the largest contributor of aid to Ukraine as a proportion of GDP, according to the Kiel Institute which lists the military, financial and humanitarian aid promised and delivered to Ukraine since February 24, 2022, the date of the start of the Russian offensive.

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A Ukrainian crew member of the 21st Mechanized Brigade stands in the hatch of a German Leopard 2A5 battle tank, near the front line, in the Donetsk region, on November 21. (File photo)

The Baltic state has already committed to providing total government aid to Kiev worth nearly 1.4% of its GDP, according to this research center.

On Wednesday, the Lithuanian president assured that his country will continue to support courageous Ukrainians by all means, including military, economic and political.

He added that Lithuania would send several types of weapons, including drones and M577 armored vehicles, to Ukraine in February.

The other Baltic countries, Estonia and Latvia, were ranked in second and fifth positions, the aid announced by these two members of both NATO and NATO x27;EU amounting in total to 1.3 and 1.1% of their GDP respectively.

Estonian Foreign Minister MargusTsahkna assured that Tallinn is ready to allocate 0.25% of its GDP for military aid to Ukraine over the next four years.

It is much cheaper to support Ukraine now compared to the price the international community would have to pay if Russia achieved the goals of this ruthless aggression, Mr. Tsahkna on X Sunday.

For her part, Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas stressed on Wednesday the importance of unwavering support for Ukraine.

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Ukrainian ammunition stocks are particularly vulnerable. (File photo)

We must support Ukraine for as long as it takes […] If we let aggressors take precedence over international law and dictate the rules of the game, we will find ourselves in a much more dangerous world, she insisted.

Latvia is committed to permanently providing military equipment and training to Ukrainian soldiers, its Defense Minister said, referring in particular to drones.

This is our common fight for the future of freedom, democracy and the rules-based international order, a launched Andris Spruds, who claims that his country will have trained around 3,000 Ukrainian soldiers in 2023.

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