Zelenskiy lauds US aid, asks Blinken for air defenses

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STORY: :: Zelenskiy lauds U.S. aid to Ukraine and asks for air defense systems as he meets with Blinken

:: May 14, 2024

:: Kyiv, Ukraine

:: Volodymyr Zelenskiy, Ukrainian President

:: “I wanted to thank you from all my team, all Ukrainians to crucial package for our forces, for our warriors. Thank you so much for this package thanks to Congress. Thanks President Biden, please, best regards from us to him and to administration. We are thankful for bipartisan support. And I know you did a lot also for this positive decision and of course we are very thankful for this to Americans, to American people. Air defence, the biggest deficit for us. I think that’s the biggest problem, yes. We need, really we need today two Patriots for Kharkiv, for Kharkiv region because people there are under attack, civilians and warriors, everybody there is under Russian missiles.”

:: Antony Blinken, U.S. Secretary of State

:: “All of us admire your extraordinary resilience, your endurance, your strength, your leadership. And we know this is a challenging time, but we also know that in the near term the assistance is now on the way, some already arrived, more that will be arriving. And that’s going to make a real difference against the ongoing Russian aggression on the battlefield. We are equally determined that over time Ukraine stands strongly on its own feet militarily, economically, democratically. A strong, successful, thriving, free Ukraine is the best possible rebuke to Putin and the best possible guarantor for your future.”

Washington finally passed a bill in late April to provide military aid to Ukraine, held up for months by opposition from some Republicans in the U.S. Congress while Russian forces took advantage of their superior firepower to launch an offensive.

Blinken arrived in Kyiv by train early on Tuesday morning on the previously undisclosed visit, which comes days after Russia launched a ground incursion into the north of the region of Kharkiv, opening a new front and stretching Ukraine's soldiers.

Kyiv has been on the back foot on the battlefield for months as Russian troops have slowly advanced, taking advantage of Ukraine's shortages of troop manpower and artillery shells.