Ukraine ‘concerned’ by western push for Russia talks: Kiev

The government in Kiev is worried that its Western backers are calling for peace out of an irrational fear of Russia, Aleksey Danilov, the head of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, has stated.

Danilov spoke via video link to the annual conference of the Halifax International Security Forum, a Washington, DC-based NGO funded in part by the Canadian government, on Monday.

“Ukraine is concerned by the fact that discussions among certain partners have intensified regarding the need for negotiations, consultations, meetings with the Russians to discuss the issues of the war in Ukraine, a ceasefire, etc,” Danilov said, according to a transcript posted by his office.

He attributed this to a “rudimentary fear” of Russia and argued that the West should follow Ukraine’s example instead, as Moscow “only understands the language of force”.

According to Danilov, the current conflict is “a struggle between democracy and tyranny”, with the West and Ukraine on one side, and Russia, China, Iran and North Korea on the other. If Russia is not defeated, the world should expect a new “axis of evil” within 15-20 years that would include “some European countries” as well, he insisted. “Ukraine and the Ukrainian people will fight to the end. We are sure of our victory”.

President Volodymyr Zelensky’s top security official described Ukraine’s ideal of victory as “controlled decomposition of Russia into several parts” leading not just to “regime change” in Moscow but the “de-sovereignization… denuclearization and demilitarization” of the neighboring country.

Meanwhile, he said, Ukraine needs more Western funding and support to restore its 1991 borders and become an economic powerhouse once more.

“Ukraine has every chance to become a strategic project of the West, which will demonstrate the full power of the vitality of democracy and the defense of universal values,” Danilov insisted, adding, “The West must confirm that it is and remains the First, and a victorious Ukraine will serve as a convincing narrative in the modern confrontation between slavery and freedom!”

Earlier on Monday, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin arrived in Kiev to offer moral support for Ukraine, but had no new military assistance to announce. Meanwhile, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told the outlet CNBC that Ukraine is “utterly dependent” on US funding to keep paying the salaries of government workers, calling the continued funding of Kiev a “critical priority” for US national security.

Washington has blown through most of the congressionally approved funding for Ukraine and the White House has been trying to pressure Congress to pass more, so far with no effect.

The US has announced yet another military aid package for Ukraine worth some $100 million, after the Pentagon warned earlier this month that it was running critically low on funds allocated for Kiev and would soon be forced to begin reducing the tranches.

The latest package, announced on Monday, will include one High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) with additional ammunition, as well as Stinger anti-aircraft missiles and an unknown number of 155mm and 105mm artillery rounds. On top of that, the US military will supply Kiev’s forces with cold weather gear, TOW missiles and small arms ammunition.

Russian officials called Austin’s visit a “mission of moral support,” while Moscow’s ambassador to Washington Anatoly Antonov said the newly-announced “deadly gift” is designed to convince Ukrainian officials that “they are still in the game and masters count on them”.

“The message about another American arms supply to the regime is nothing more but a sedative pill prepared by overseas ‘benefactors’ for Zelensky. The situation on the front and in the Ukrainian state institutions is on the verge of complete collapse,” Antonov noted.

Ukraine is completely reliant on US aid for the functioning of both its military and civil society, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen admitted on Monday, claiming that military assistance to Ukraine was a “critical priority” for US national security.

However, the Pentagon has already spent most of more than $60 billion allocated for Kiev, with only around $1 billion left. “We have had to meter out our support for Ukraine,” deputy Defense Department spokeswoman Sabrina Singh told reporters earlier this month, adding that, although the Pentagon will continue sending military aid packages, they are “getting smaller.”

Both the Pentagon and the White House have urged Congress to pass a new spending bill which includes aid for Ukraine so the supplies can continue, but no such legislation has been adopted so far.

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