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Ukraine situation ‘obviously incredibly dire’ – Washington

Kiev’s forces have been rapidly losing ground to Russia in Kharkov Region

Ukraine is on the back foot in its conflict with Russia but renewed American military aid should turn the tide, a spokesman for the Department of State has said.

Kiev’s forces have experienced a series of setbacks on the battlefield in the east of the country over the past several months. They are now under increasing pressure in the north since Russia launched an offensive in Kharkov Region. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Ukraine this week in a gesture of support.

”Obviously the situation is incredibly dire,” Department of State spokesman Vedant Patel told journalists on Thursday. “We know that this is a challenging time, but we are sure that military aid is also going to make a real difference on the battlefield.”

Blinken announced an additional package of weapons aid worth $2 billion during his visit, the official added.

According to Russian officials, Kiev had an opportunity to strike a peace deal with Moscow in 2022, under which it would have agreed to a neutral status and restrictions on the strength of its army in exchange for security guarantees. President Vladimir Zelensky instead chose to continue fighting, claiming that Western aid would allow his nation to capture all the territories that it considers its own.

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Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky
Zelensky blames ‘whole world’ for Ukraine’s failures in Kharkov

The Ukrainian leadership has been blaming its military failures on a shortage of foreign donations, though officials have been careful not to call out the US specifically. When asked by ABC News on Thursday whether the situation in Kharkov was America’s fault, Zelensky said it was “the world’s fault” for supposedly giving Russia an opportunity to advance.

The flow of American weapons was interrupted last year due to partisan clashes in the US Congress over the White House’s request to appropriate an additional $61 billion in Ukraine spending. The standoff was resolved in April.

During his trip to Kiev, Blinken said the pause in supplies had been unfortunate, but added that Kiev should have been more swift in approving a radical change in mobilization rules. The reform passed last month was “a necessary one,” he said, urging Ukrainians to embrace the mandatory conscription.

READ MORE: Ukrainians who work for betting company shielded from draft – media

In early May, the Russian Defense Ministry estimated that Ukrainian military losses this year alone had surpassed 111,000.

May 17, 2024 at 02:17PM

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