Zelensky warned that Western allies’ doubts about aid to Ukraine encourage Putin

Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelensky Photo: Dario Pignatelli/European Council/dp (Dario Pignatelli/European Counci/)

Western allies’ “doubts” about aid to kyiv encourage Vladimir Putinwho wants to “occupy” all of Ukraine, Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelensky warned on Wednesday during a surprise visit to Lithuania.

“We have to watch the rhetoric of [Vladimir] Putin. It’s not going to stop. He wants to occupy us completely“said the Ukrainian president in Vilnius, together with his Lithuanian counterpart, Gitanas Nauseda.

“Sometimes partners’ doubts regarding financial and military aid to Ukraine only increase Russia’s courage and strength,” he lamented.

Putin “won’t stop” if Ukraine and its allies “don’t finish him off”He launched.

In the event of a Ukrainian defeat, Russia’s other neighbors risk being attacked, Zelensky warned. “We have to understand that Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Moldova could be the next victims, if we do not resist,” he reiterated.

The Ukrainian president referred to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania as “reliable friends” and “principled partners” in a message on the X social network.

The tour of these former Soviet republics, now integrated into NATO and the European Union, is Zelensky’s first official trip abroad in 2024.

In recent weeks, Ukraine has been the target of intense Russian bombing, to which it responded with attacks on the Russian city of Belgorod, located near the border.

03/04/2022 A Ukrainian army soldier aims an anti-aircraft missile.  POLITICS Diego Herrera - Europa Press
03/04/2022 A Ukrainian army soldier aims an anti-aircraft missile. POLITICS Diego Herrera – Europa Press (Diego Herrera – Europa Press/)

Ukrainians “need more”

Zelensky has not stopped asking his allies for military support and met last month with representatives of the United States, Germany and Norway on this matter.

However, 50 billion euro ($54.75 billion) EU aid program blocked in Brussels by Hungarian veto. In the United States, sending additional aid to kyiv causes divisions in Congress.

Given the escalation of attacks against Ukraine, Lithuanian President Nauseda last week asked Western allies to deliver air defense systems to kyiv.

“The Ukrainians do wonders with Western-supplied air defense, but they need more,” he wrote in X.

This Wednesday, at a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Council, held at the level of ambassadors, the countries of the military alliance “made it clear that they will continue to provide Ukraine with important military, economic and humanitarian assistance.”

According to a brief statement released at the end of that meeting, “several allies outlined plans to provide billions of euros in additional capabilities in 2024,” without offering details.

Lithuania is Ukraine’s largest donor in proportion to its wealthwith government aid that represents almost 1.4% of its GDP, according to the German research institute Kiel Institute.

The other two Baltic countries, Estonia and Latvia, appear in second and fifth position, with aid equivalent to 1.3 and 1.1% of their GDP respectively.

But the global aid promised to Ukraine between August and October 2023 fell almost 90% compared to the same period in 2022, reaching its lowest level since the start of the war, in February 2022, according to this German institute.

(With information from AFP)