Zelensky praises US aid that will help get shells firing again

  • 22 April, 2024
  • Politics

Published in the Daily Express on 22 April 2024.

THE vote by US politicians to approve £49billion of aid for Ukraine has been greeted with one overwhelming emotion in the eastern European country – relief.

From Kyiv to Odesa and from Kharkiv to Lviv, there was a sense that Congress had finally grasped just how desperate the situation is on the front line.

Sadly, the historic vote from the House of Representatives on Saturday does not mean Ukraine will win its war with Russia – no one is under any illusion that there is still a long way to go.

However, it does mean that in the short term Ukraine will not lose its 26-month conflict against its larger and more powerful neighbour.

This would have become a real possibility within months if the aid programme for Ukraine had, yet again, been blocked. During my most recent visit to Ukraine two months ago, I met military commanders in front-line cities and in the capital Kyiv who all had exactly the same message – their brave soldiers were in urgent need of weapons and ammunition, along with more air defences.

As a nation, Ukraine has defied the odds in holding back, and at times pushing back, the mighty Russian army. But it simply cannot continue its fight without considerable help from the West. The hope now from my many contacts in Ukraine is that the first weapons and ammunition will arrive very soon, enabling the nation’s armed forces to halt what has been a slow but steady advance by Russian troops along parts of the frontline.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky described the weekend’s vote as “vital”. US President Joe Biden praised the effort to “answer history’s call”.

And I am simply overjoyed that common sense has finally prevailed.

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