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Zelensky Makes Appeal For Aid, Reveals 31,000 Ukrainian Soldiers Have Been Lost In War


According to the Ukrainian President, half of all military aid to Ukraine has been delayed.

On Monday, President Volodymyr Zelensky issued a stark warning, telling CNN that millions could die if American legislators don’t approve a 75 billion aid package to Ukraine. This comes after Mr Zelensky claimed on Sunday that 31,000 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion two years ago.

The Ukrainian President said he was providing the figure to counter inflated numbers being pushed out by Russia.

Western governments, however, have different estimates for the number of Ukrainian losses, with US officials believing that 70,000 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed. The UK Ministry of Defence, meanwhile, estimates that there have been over 350,000 Russian casualties.

Since the Russian capture of Avdiivka two weeks ago, Western governments have been scrambling for new ways to help Ukraine’s war effort. Earlier this month Denmark decided to send its “entire artillery” to Ukraine as part of a $3.21 billion aid package.

Additionally, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has suggested £200 billion in frozen Russian assets be sent to Kyiv. In an article for the Sunday Times, he said that the UK should be “bolder” with its military support and increase the delivery of long-range weapons and drones to Ukraine.

The release of £200 billion in funds to Ukraine could be a game-changer, allowing Ukraine to spend more on heavy industry and domestic production of weapons and munitions.

Nevertheless, Zelensky has blamed a lack of weapons for the failed Ukrainian counter-offensive last year, as well as the loss of Avdiivka earlier this month. In response to a claim from US Senator J.D. Vance that American aid to Ukraine would not change the war's outcome, Zelensky suggested that Vance didn’t understand what was happening.

“They know we need their support,” he said.

With Mr. Zelensky counting on Congress to unlock the aid, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has advocated in favour of more aid, citing the lack of weapons, ammunition, and artillery shells in Ukraine as a major area of concern. Invoking his Jewish ancestors’ deaths at the hands of the Nazis, he requested that House Speaker Mike Johnson allow Congress to vote on the foreign aid bill.

Previously Mike Johnson has said that securing America’s border should be prioritised before sending foreign aid around the world. According to Schumer, this is an attitude being driven by the “radical right” and “blind obedience to Donald Trump, who’s a pal of Putin”.

The unusual reality of the Ukraine War is that political uncertainty in the US risks completely destabilising the Ukrainian war effort. Rather than the end of the war being decided in Moscow or Kyiv, the end of the war could be decided in Washington by politicians unwilling to support Ukrainian liberation. Zelensky himself admits this, which is why he has recently decided to weigh in on US politics.

When questioned by CNN on the prospect of a Trump presidency, Zelensky replied that if Donald Trump doesn’t know who he will support then that will cause problems in American society. Without endorsing either candidate, Zelensky accepts that the 2024 Presidential Election could change the war.

“The US elections will be a turning point,” he said.

With a deep chasm opening in American society over the issue of Ukraine, Zelensky has a point. If the US fails in its obligations to support European defense then it will compromise the very principles that it claims to uphold, notably that all men are endowed with the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

These rights, upheld by the United States Declaration of Independence, will no doubt be crushed under a lengthy Russian occupation. According to Freedom House, a non-partisan American organisation, there is no freedom of speech or free press in the Russian-occupied Donbas region of Ukraine. Political participation, religious tolerance, and academic freedom are also virtually non-existent. Many major decisions are made directly from Moscow with zero transparency. Corruption also is thought to be widespread.

In the Russia-occupied Crimean region of Ukraine, schoolchildren are exposed to Russian military propaganda and teachers are prosecuted for allegedly discrediting the Russian military. The teaching of Ukrainian has been eradicated in schools. The Russian secret police (FSB) have created a climate of fear and intimidation by encouraging residents to inform on those who express anti-war opinions. If the democracies of the world do not take drastic action, then more parts of Ukraine will be colonised by Russia.

For now, Kyiv must rely on the politically hyper-partisan and unstable US. But with other Western states trying desperately to fill the gap, it may still be able to avoid a full capitulation to Russia. Unlike the US, European countries are more united over the issue of aid to Ukraine and are not constrained in the same way by competing chambers of Congress.


So, with American support for Kyiv waning, Europe will likely have to fill the role of security guarantor for Ukraine. Whether or not European powers have the willingness or ability to continue backing Ukraine over the long term, however, remains to be seen.

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