Ukraine's Zelenskiy pushes allies to step up aid

STORY: "We are very grateful to our partners, that they are helping, but this is happening so slow."

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy told Reuters in an exclusive interview on Monday that his Western allies are taking too long to make key decisions on sending military support to Ukraine.

"Every decision takes ages. We arrive at this decision later on, but it's like one year too late."

Zelenskiy also said he was pushing Western partners to get more directly involved in the war by helping to intercept Russian missiles and to allow Ukraine to use Western weapons against enemy military equipment at the border and further inside Russian territory.

"I'm sure we can have a proper dialogue and we can reach the consensus [regarding] the long-range missiles to hit the weapons of Russians located alongside the Ukrainian border. I believe we will reach this decision. Because the same happened with giving us tanks and armored vehicles, Patriots, right?"

The United States has resisted Ukrainian calls to use its missiles against internationally recognized Russian territory, reflecting concerns in the West about the risk of escalation.

"Everybody is afraid of escalation. So Ukrainians are dying. Well, everybody got used to that. That's not escalation."

Zelenskiy's remarks come at a perilous time for his forces. They are outnumbered and outgunned by Russia's army, which recently crossed the border into the city of Kharkiv.

Zelenskiy acknowledged Ukraine was losing territory in the northeast but he said the situation on the battlefield had improved.

"Today the situation is controlled. A week ago it was more difficult."

The United States finally passed a bill to provide military aid to Ukraine in late April, but it had been held up for months by opposition from some Republicans in Congress.

Zelenskiy said he didn't see big risks to future aid if Republican Donald Trump, a Ukraine aid skeptic, wins the November election, but that didn't mean there were no concerns.

"Both parties supported this package, which is why I wouldn't say that as of today I don't see some maximal risks. I don't believe that Republicans are against support for Ukraine, but some messages we can hear from them, well, they are causing concerns, in any case."