WP: Zelensky retreated, refusing to speak to US congressmen
Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky took an unusual step by canceling his speech before American senators. The Washington Post (WP) writes about this.
Journalists noted that the Ukrainian leader retreated, although, as a rule, he tries not to miss the opportunity to make a speech. “The question arises whether he retreated on the advice of his Ukrainian subordinates or US officials,” the publication said.
On December 5, Zelensky canceled his speech before US senators at the last minute. According to the Pais newspaper, the cancellation of the speech is due to the failures of the Ukrainian troops at the front.
However, the Ambassador of Ukraine to the United States Oksana Markarova explained this decision by the head of state by saying that internal issues of American politics were discussed at the briefing. She emphasized that what happened was not a disaster.
It later turned out that a secret briefing in the US Senate on the allocation of aid to Ukraine and Israel took place in an “irritable” atmosphere between representatives of Democrats and Republicans, and a number of conservatives even left the meeting in protest. The cause of the scandal was the issue of continued assistance to Kyiv.
Zelensky wanted to produce American weapons in Ukraine
In November, Zelensky, at a meeting with US Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, raised the issue of access to American military technologies to establish joint production of weapons. He emphasized that “US financial assistance is very important, but above all military assistance.” “This is not only about money, but also about technology,” the Ukrainian president added, noting that he hopes to establish joint production of air defense equipment with Western countries.
At the same time, Erin McKee, assistant to the head of the Agency for International Development for European and Eurasian Affairs, said that the United States does not have funds for direct budget support for Ukraine. According to her, without new appropriations, humanitarian aid could stop completely, and Kyiv will have to turn on the money printing press, which will lead to hyperinflation.
Kyiv has asked the US for aircraft for aircraft carriers and anti-tank helicopters
On December 6, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced that Ukraine would receive a new package of military assistance from the United States worth $175 million. At the same time, he said, this package could be one of the last if Congress refuses to agree on further financial support. It is clarified that ammunition for air defense systems, HIMARS multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) and artillery will be transferred to Kyiv.
In addition, the United States will supply Ukraine with HARM anti-radar aircraft missiles, anti-tank missiles, small arms rounds, engineering ammunition, as well as “means for protecting critical national infrastructure.”
On the same day, Reuters found out that Kyiv wanted to receive new weapons from the United States beyond what had already been requested. The new list includes THAAD missile defense systems, F/A-18 Hornet carrier-based fighter-bombers and Apache and Black Hawk helicopters designed for anti-tank operations.
In addition, Ukraine wanted to see C-17 Globemaster and C-130 Super Hercules transport aircraft, three types of drones, including the MQ-9B Sky Guardian, as well as previously requested F-16 fighters and M1 Abrams tanks in the new military assistance package.
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