Saturday, May 25, 2024

Ukrainian FM ups urgency for more arms, says ‘nice and quiet diplomacy didn’t work’

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said in an interview published Wednesday that he plans to sharpen his rhetoric in requests to Western allies for more weapons.

In an interview with The Washington Post, Kuleba stressed the urgency of getting military aid to the front lines and resolved to change his approach.

“Nice and quiet diplomacy didn’t work,” he said to the Post.

The top diplomat added he hopes a tougher approach will break through with Western allies, whose aid to the war-torn country has declined in recent months. In the United States, Congress has been sitting on a roughly $60 billion aid package for Ukraine that President Joe Biden requested at the end of last year.

“Yes, people may hate me, and I may ruin the relationship,” Kuleba told the Post.

“The other part of me is saying diplomacy is all about private relations. But then I told that part to shut up, and the part of me that wanted to speak out started speaking up. We’ve tried everything, and nothing seems to work.”

The minister stated the U.S.-designed Patriot air defense system is the country’s top priority. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky tasked Kuleba with trying to convince countries to give Ukraine its spare systems.

Kuleba’s sharper rhetoric has been evident in some of his recent interviews.

Late last month, in an interview with Politico, Kuleba said, “Give us the damn Patriots.”

“If we had enough air defense systems, namely Patriots, we would be able to protect not only the lives of our people, but also our economy from destruction,” he added.

Congress returned to Washington this week after a two-week holiday recess. Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) has said he plans on putting a Ukraine aid package on the floor for a vote, but he has yet to say publicly what that package would include.

Zelensky has also addressed participants in the Delphi Economic Forum, saying that Ukraine needs air defense systems and fighter aircraft to protect itself from Russian attacks.

“Ukraine does not ask too much. We need air defense systems and fighter aircraft that can protect our cities from Russian terror. Few dozen systems and a sufficient number of modern jets – and there will be no problem of Russian jets and bombs. We need artillery to move the frontline away and restore normal life in the territories occupied by Russia,” Zelensky stated.

Also, according to Zelensky, Ukraine needs justice – “such pressure on Russia that won’t allow [President Vladimir] Putin to increase his military potential – growing sanctions against Russia, confiscating Putin’s assets and zero toleration of Russian disinformation”.

“It is all absolutely realistic. And it depends only on the political will of our partners. Putin can fill with his aggression only the deficit of the world’s decisions. Deficit that takes too long. It is possible to win this war. But deficits do not advance victory,” he added.

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