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Zelensky urges European and US allies to unblock aid

Zelensky proposes Ukrainian citizenship for foreign fighters
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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Wednesday urged allies in Europe and the US to keep backing Kyiv, as disputes in Brussels and Washington hold up new aid packages.

The Ukrainian leader also took part in talks in Oslo with the leaders of the five Nordic countries on the eve of an important EU meeting in Brussels.

“You can’t win without help,” Zelensky told reporters, after talks with Norway’s Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store earlier Wednesday.

In both the US and the European Union, internal disagreements are holding up aid packages for Ukraine worth billions of dollars.

With the counter-offensive launched by Ukraine in July failing to yield the anticipated results, Zelensky is trying to bolster support.

In particular, Zelensky is counting on the Nordic countries to help finance Ukraine’s manufacture of NATO-compatible weapons.

After his meeting with them, he said: “What Europe can do is the same as what the Nordic countries are doing.”

Nordic support

Since the start of the war in February 2022, the five Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden) say they have given around 11 billion euros in aid to Ukraine.

In an op-ed published Wednesday in the Financial Times, the five leaders said “now is not the time to tire”.

Norway announced earlier this year a civilian and military aid package of 6.8 billion euros ($7.3 billion) to Ukraine over 2023-2027.

On Wednesday, Oslo announced it was donating just over 250 million euros to Ukraine as part of this package, as well as new much-needed anti-air defence weapons. Ukraine is facing heavy Russian bombing.

A Russian missile strike on Kyiv wounded more than 50 people.

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said her government would on Thursday propose a new package of military aid to Ukraine worth almost one billion euros.

Key EU talks

When they meet in Brussels from Thursday, European leaders will discuss the opening of EU membership talks with Ukraine and a push to give Kyiv 50 billion euros ($54 billion) in aid over the next four years.

But they face opposition from Hungary, Russia’s closest ally in the bloc.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said Wednesday that opening EU membership talks with Kyiv would be a “terrible mistake”.

“I am willing to make financial deals on financial issues, but I am not willing to make strategic or policy deals on financial issues,” he said. He did not specify whether he was referring to aid for Ukraine.

Zelensky said Orban had “no reason” to block Kyiv from joining the EU.

“I asked him to tell me one reason why. Not three, not five, not 10. Tell me one reason,” Zelensky told reporters in Oslo of his talks with Orban.

“I’m waiting for (an) answer.”

The Ukrainian president arrived in Oslo early Wednesday after a visit to the United States, where he made a last-ditch plea for more military aid.

A divided Congress is still to approve a fresh $60-billion aid package.

US President Joe Biden said he had approved a further $200 million in US military aid to tide Ukraine over for coming weeks.

But without a deal in Congress, funding could dry up by the end of the year, the White House warned.

Moscow meanwhile has claimed fresh battlefield advances and predicted Tuesday that any new assistance for Kyiv would be a “fiasco”.

 

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AFP

Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.







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