Ukrainian PM stresses urgency of aid: ‘We need support for yesterday, not today’

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal called on the House to approve further funding for his nation, arguing it is needed to support Ukraine’s war losses and guarantee a win against Russia.

“We hope that this week, [the] House will support one of the drafts, no matter for us which one. We need support for yesterday, not for today or tomorrow, for yesterday,” Shmyhal said Thursday during an interview with MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell.

“And we hope that it will bring us immediate ASAP support from the United States, and then we will have a chance to win this war together with our partner, our friend, our ally — the United States — and we are so much grateful to people of the United States, to government of the United States for this unwavering support during this two years,” he continued. “So we are sure that even now we have the highest changes to win this war together.”

His remarks come as House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) prepares to put a series of foreign aid bills on the floor that would allocate funding for Ukraine, Israel, allies in the Indo-Pacific and other national security priorities. The bills come following months of delays after his initial proposal was criticized by the lower chamber’s right flank.

In an effort to appease conservatives in his conference, Johnson rejected the Senate’s $95 billion foreign aid bill — passed in February — which would have provided about $60 billion in aid to Ukraine.

Aid for Kyiv has been left in limbo for more than a year amid divisions among lawmakers. Several Republicans have voiced opposition to sending more money to Ukraine and argue U.S. cash should go toward domestic issues, notably the country’s southern border.

Johnson’s proposal would provide some of the new aid for Ukraine in the form of a loan, in an effort to ease the finical burden on taxpayers. The loan, though a forgivable one, would allow the administration to tap seized Russian assets to help fund the costs of Ukrainian reconstruction.

Asked about the prospect of aid as a loan, Shmyhal said, “For us, any support is absolutely appreciated and very valuable.”

“So we will be so glad and so grateful to the United States for any kind of support … if it will be a long-term like loan, it absolutely works for us. The same as a grant, so it will support our economy, it will support our defense forces, and we so much appreciate any kind of support from the United States.”

Shmyhal said the biggest priority for the Ukrainian forces is ammunition, followed by air defense.

“The situation on the ground is difficult, but having ammunition, we may go ahead and win together as we do it before,” he said adding later, “and second priority is air defense because now Russians are using their missiles, they’re using guided bombs. And we need to protect our skies.”

“So air defense, including F-16s, air jets, so now we have preparation of our pilots. And I hope the nearest time we will have it. But Patriots, United States production is the best one ever,” he continued.

The Patriot missile defense system is the most advanced air and missile defense system in the world and is used by more than a dozen countries. It can engage ballistic and cruise missiles, as well as enemy aircraft.

The U.S. provided Ukraine with the Patriot missile defense system in 2022 and sent Kyiv a new emergency military aid package worth $300 million last month.

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