bAfter his conversation with US President Joe Biden in Washington on Friday (local time), Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) expressed confidence that US military aid to Ukraine can be maintained. If it is not possible to reach a corresponding decision in the US Congress, the ability of the Ukrainian armed forces to defend their own country would be threatened, warned Scholz after the conversation in the Oval Office of the White House.
“That's why we're both firmly convinced that this has to happen now, but we're also confident that the American Congress will ultimately make such a decision.” That would also be the right message to Putin that his hope that the crisis will subside Western military aid to Ukraine is in vain.
The day before, a new legislative package that, among other things, provides $60 billion (56 billion euros) for Ukraine cleared its first formal hurdle in the Senate. Negotiations are still ongoing and a final vote in the Senate is pending. Whether the package will pass there and, above all, have a chance in the other chamber of parliament, the House of Representatives, is still completely open. Given the months-long blockade, even minimal movements are seen as progress.
The USA and Germany are by far Ukraine's most important arms suppliers. Scholz estimates the value of the military equipment delivered and promised by Germany at more than 30 billion euros. The USA states the extent of its military aid at 44 billion US dollars (around 41 billion euros).
Zelensky is seeking US military aid
At a meeting with representatives from Washington, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky also called for additional US billions in aid to strengthen Kiev's defense power. “I am confident that Congress will make the decision to provide Ukraine with the necessary assistance. This will strengthen our defense,” said Zelensky in Kiev on Friday evening. Among other things, he published a video of the conversation with representatives of the US House of Representatives on the social network X (formerly Twitter).
“We must not back down in our fight against the aggressor,” said Zelensky. Ukraine is dependent on allies like the USA. What is needed is an expansion of air defense with US Patriot systems and cooperation in the production of modern drones and electronic warfare equipment. In his evening video message, Zelensky also spoke of the need for long-range weapons – “especially ATACMS with a range of 300 kilometers, on which unfortunately there is still no decision.”
Zelenskyj once again thanked the USA for the help it has provided so far. The challenges remain great. There are more and more voices in Europe warning against an expansion of Russian aggression, he said. “We cannot allow war and Russian evil to spread. Putin will only be sobered up when he is confronted with strength.” Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin began his war of aggression against Ukraine on February 24, 2022.
Russian drone attacks at night
According to Ukrainian information, Russia again attacked targets in Ukraine with Shahed drones on Saturday night. In an attack on the city of Kharkiv, civilian infrastructure was also hit, wrote the mayor of Kharkiv, Ihor Terekhov, on his Telegram channel. Terekhov wrote that gasoline caught fire at a gas station and 14 private houses burned. Meanwhile, in the Black Sea region of Odessa in the south, a 44-year-old man was injured in the arm by shrapnel, according to military governor Oleh Kiper.