West always gives Ukraine weapons one year after needs them: Zelenskyy

West always gives Ukraine weapons one year after needs them: Zelenskyy

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy waiting to greet US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, prior to their meeting in Kyiv on May 14, 2024.
Brendan Smialowski/Pool Photo via AP

  • Ukraine’s president told Reuters that the West always gives it weapons a year after it needs them.
  • Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the West needs to be more involved in the war and shoot down Russian missiles.
  • Delays in US weapons deliveries have left Ukraine struggling to fight back, one expert said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the country’s Western allies always give it weapons one year after it actually needs them.

“Every decision to which we, then later everyone together, comes to is late by around one year,” Zelenskyy told Reuters on Monday.

“But it is what it is: one big step forward, but before that, two steps back,” he added.

Zelenskyy made the comments after he and others spent months begging for more weapons as Russia ramped up its attacks.

Republicans in Congress finally approved a $61 billion package last month, which the Pentagon said could reach Ukraine within days.

However, delayed weapons deliveries mean Ukraine is now struggling to push back Russian advances, retired US Air Force colonel Cedric Leighton told CNN last week.

In recent weeks, Russia has launched a renewed assault on the northeastern Ukrainian region of Kharkiv.

Last week, The Institute for the Study of War reported that Russian forces appear to be creating a “buffer zone” instead of pursuing deeper offensives there.

Zelenskyy told Reuters that the situation north of Kharkiv is “under control” but that a “very powerful wave” of fighting is taking place in Donbas.

“No one even notices that there are actually more battles in the east of the country, specifically in the Donbas direction: Kurakhove, Pokrovsk, Chasiv Yar,” he said.

Zelenskyy also said that the delays in weapon deliveries, and in countries’ decision-making, called for a change in “paradigm,” per Reuters.

As part of that shift, Zelenskyy is now asking the US and its allies to allow Ukrainian forces to use weapons supplied by them inside Russian territory, per Reuters — a suggestion the Pentagon has rejected.

Over the weekend, Russia accused Ukraine of firing Western-supplied missiles into its border region of Belgorod.

Zelenskyy also said that its NATO allies could shoot down Russian airstrikes targeting Ukraine using air defenses based on NATO territory, per the news agency.

NATO’s former secretary-general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, made a similar suggestion earlier this month.

Some NATO countries, including Estonia and France, want to go further and are considering sending their troops to Ukraine, albeit in limited ways.

“It’s a question of will,” Zelenskyy told Reuters.

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