Should Washington halt its military and financial assistance to Kiev, Ukraine would just go on with the conflict without it, Zelensky maintained when asked if he was “worried” about potential changes in US foreign policy in the case of Donald Trump’s 2024 presidential election victory in particular.
Earlier, Trump repeatedly vowed that he would have a peace deal between Moscow and Kiev worked out “within 24 hours” if elected in 2024. Speaking to Reuters on Wednesday, Zelensky brushed off such promises as a plan by Trump to “fix” the conflict for himself, with no regard for the “price” Ukraine would supposedly have to pay.
“If it will change your foreign policy, so what can I say? Ok, we will fight without you,” Zelensky stated, adding that it was supposedly the will of the Ukrainian people.
He went on to say that the only “real way to stop the war” was for Russian forces to withdraw from all the territories claimed by Kiev. He also added he was sure that Moscow’s troops “will do it,” without elaborating.
In his interview with Reuters, the Ukrainian leader also stressed that “any” US president would help Ukraine if they knew “all the challenges and the result and the damage of the war”.
Earlier, in a separate interview with broadcaster NBC last Sunday, Zelensky invited Trump to Ukraine, vowing to convince the former American president that he would be unable to strike any deals with Russia in “24 minutes”. Trump rejected the offer in a written statement to US media outlet Newsmax. Such a trip would create “a conflict of interest” at a time when President Joe Biden’s administration was officially dealing with Kiev, he said.
Earlier this week, Zelensky also claimed that Kiev had a “plan” that would help it prevail on the battlefield and show some “results” by the end of the year. His words came as Ukraine’s much-touted summer offensive had barely brought about any changes to the frontlines following months of heavy fighting and massive material and personnel losses on the Ukrainian side.
Ukraine’s top commander, General Valery Zaluzhny, told the Economist last week that the conflict between Moscow and Kiev had entered a World War I-style stalemate in which Russia had an upper hand due to larger resources. The Pentagon also announced this week that it only had around $1 billion left for military aid to Kiev and would have to ration it from now on.