Zelensky: U.S. Weapons Will Give Ukraine ‘a Chance at Victory’ Against Russia

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky thanked the U.S. House for approving aid to Ukraine that he said will give the nation a “chance at victory” as it fights against Russian aggression and incursion on its land.

“I think this support will really strengthen the armed forces, I pray, and we will have a chance at victory if Ukraine really gets the weapons system, which we need so much, which thousands of soldiers need so much,” Zelensky said via a translator during an interview Sunday on Meet the Press.

The House passed a $60 billion aid package to Ukraine on Saturday — $23 billion of which will go toward replenishing U.S. weapons, stocks and facilities — with a 311-112 vote. The Senate is scheduled to vote on the legislation this Tuesday, and President Joe Biden has said he will sign it when it reaches his desk. The Ukraine aid bill also includes $13.8 billion to supply advanced weapons systems as well as $10 billion in economic assistance. The House also passed aid to Israel and Taiwan on Saturday.

“We need long-range weapons to not lose people on the frontlines,” Zelensky said. He added that in the last six months, Ukraine’s troops have suffered “losses in several directions… losses in men, in equipment.”

“We have a lot of people who are ready to protect the motherland. [But] motivation can go down… when they go to the frontlines and they see there are no shells, no equipment.”

With renewed aid, Zelensky said, “Now we have all the chance to stabilize the situation and to overtake the initiative. And that’s why we need to actually have the weapon systems. When we get it, when we have it in our arms, then we do have the chance to take this initiative and to move ahead and to protect Ukraine.”

Asked about a timeline for victory, Zelensky said that “it depends on how soon we get this aid.”

On Sunday, Russia reacted to the House’s vote to send military support to Ukraine, claiming that Ukraine is dragging the U.S. into a “humiliating fiasco.”

“Washington’s deeper and deeper immersion in the hybrid war against Russia will turn into such a loud and humiliating fiasco for United States as Vietnam and Afghanistan,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said, according to Reuters.

She added that Russia will launch “an unconditional and resolute response” should the U.S. pursue further involvement in the conflict. Russia currently controls approximately 18% of Ukraine, Reuters reported. Russian troops have continued to gain ground in recent months as U.S. legislators bickered over sending aid. Included in the bill passed by the House are provisions that would let the U.S. seize billions in Russian assets under sanctions, which Zakharova claimed amounted to “theft.”

Host Kristen Welker asked Zelensky for his reaction to Donald Trump encouraging Russian President Vladimir Putin to invade NATO nations that he claims are not contributing enough to defense spending. Trump has called Putin’s invasion of Ukraine “genius.”

“I know for sure if Ukraine fails, then Putin definitely will invade the Baltic countries… because Putin wants to return the influence of the Soviet Union,” Zelensky said, adding, “He wants to retake all former Soviet republics and now independent states. Whether they are in the NATO or not, he doesn’t care. That is why this is his strategy. Of course, after the Baltic states, also Poland and parts of Germany.”

When Welker brought up Trump’s alleged “plan” to end the war between Russia and Ukraine, Zelensky said, “I’m the president of a country at war, and rumors and different hearsay, I don’t believe that. [If] Trump comes here and would tell me their formula of peace, then I would be able to provide the response.”

“Have you ever lost hope?” Welker asked Zelensky.

“You can never lose hope,” he replied. “You can never lose freedom. You can never lose independence. Otherwise, you just lose everything. You lose your state. You lose your security for your children, for all. All the children in Ukraine are my children.”

“If I lose help, well, my children would lose their future independent country,” Zelensky continued. “And then we would lose Ukraine as the nation. It’s not only about the territory. It’s about ourselves, our identity. So we cannot lose hope.”

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