Ukraine’s first lady, Olena Zelenska, has warned that Ukrainians are in “mortal danger” of being left to die if western countries do not continue their financial support.
Ms Zelenska made the remarks, in an interview with the BBC, a day after Republican senators in the United States blocked a key aid bill that would have provided more than $60bn (€55bn) worth of support to Ukraine.
Ms Zelenska said: “We really need the help. In simple words, we cannot get tired of this situation, because if we do, we die. And if the world gets tired, they will simply let us die. It hurts us greatly to see the signs that the passionate willingness to help may fade. It is a matter of life for us. Therefore, it hurts to see that.”
The White House has warned US funds for Ukraine could soon run out, and Republicans have held up a deal to authorise more assistance.
A deal to provide further US assistance to Ukraine by the end of the year appears to be increasingly out of reach for US president Joe Biden.
The impasse is deepening in Congress despite warnings from the White House about the consequences of inaction. Republicans insist on pairing the funding with America’s immigration and border policies, with historic numbers of migrants arriving at the southern border.
After the Democratic president said this week that he was willing to “make significant compromises on the border”, Republicans swiftly revived demands that they had earlier set aside, hardening their positions and attempting to shift the negotiations to the right, according to a source familiar with the talks.
The White House says a failure to approve more aid by year’s end could have catastrophic consequences for Ukraine and its ability to fight.
On the battlefield, Ukraine says its forces have repelled 32 enemy attacks in the town of Avdiivka, Reuters reports.
The head of the military administration in the town, less than 12km from the outskirts of the Moscow-held regional capital of Donetsk, said Russian forces were “pressing on the entire defensive line around the town”.
In other recent developments, the Kremlin has said the idea Russia would engage in peace talks with Ukraine on Kyiv’s terms in 2024 was “absolutely unrealistic”.
It was responding to a media report that said Washington wanted such a scenario to unfold. – Guardian