Zelensky makes fresh plea for Ukraine aid: ‘We don’t know what will be tomorrow’

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky renewed his petition for more U.S. aid, arguing his embattled nation is not prepared to defend against a “major” Russian offensive anticipated in the months ahead.

Zelensky, in an interview with CBS News published Thursday, said Ukrainian forces were able to fend off Russian President Vladimir Putin’s forces through the winter months, but noted Russia’s troops and missile supplies destroyed “some villages.”

“We didn’t have rounds, artillery rounds, a lot of different things,” he said, noting an offensive from Russia is expected around the end of May or in June.

“And before that, we not only need to prepare, we not only need to stabilize the situation, because the partners are sometimes really happy that we have stabilized the situation,” Zelensky said, referring to the U.S. and Ukraine’s other backers. “No, I say we need help now.”

“Usually, when they attack by artillery and destroy the villages, after that, they always tried to occupy,” he added later. “We don’t know what will be tomorrow. That’s why we have to prepare.”

Zelensky told CBS News’s Charlie D’Agata that what Ukraine needs most is the U.S.’s Patriot missile defense systems and more artillery.

Earlier this week, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba similarly called for the Patriot system — the most advanced air and missile defense system in the world. It is used by more than a dozen countries and can engage ballistic and cruise missiles, as well as enemy aircraft.

“Dozens of billions remain in the U.S. Let’s be honest, the money which is allocated by the Congress, by the administration, in the majority of cases, 80 percent of this money — well, at least more than 75 percent — stays in the U.S,” Zelensky said. “This ammunition is coming to us, but the production is taking place there, and the money stays in the U.S., and the taxes are staying in the U.S.”

Aid for Ukraine has remained stalled in Congress for more than a year amid sharp divisions among lawmakers. Congress has not passed a funding bill for the embattled nation since the end of 2022, when a Democratic majority passed its fourth aid package for the country.

The Senate passed a $95 billion defense and foreign aid package last month that included $60 billion in aid for Kyiv. When sent to the House, Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) insisted against bringing it the floor, as it lacked the border security measures demanded by House conservatives.

Johnson said he would send the Senate a new funding package for Kyiv, noting it will likely look very different than the upper chamber’s version. The Speaker floated the idea of making the House’s foreign aid package a loan or lend-lease program to lessen the burden on U.S. taxpayers.

Zelensky on Thursday said he spoke with Johnson and briefed the House leader on Ukraine’s battlefield situation.

“In this situation, quick passage of US aid to Ukraine by Congress is vital. We recognize that there are differing views in the House of Representatives on how to proceed, but the key is to keep the issue of aid to Ukraine as a unifying factor,” he wrote in a post on social media.

The Ukrainian leader warned that the war could escalate to Europe, calling it a war “against the democracy, against the values, against the whole world.”

“The USA is helping Ukraine and we are grateful for their support, for this multilateral support, but the United States don’t have the war going on,” he said. “But it can come to Europe, and to the United States of America. It can come very quickly to Europe.”

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