Zelensky Urges US House Speaker on Military Aid

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday pressed US House Speaker Mike Johnson to help deliver “vital” military aid to Kyiv after a recent escalation in Russian attacks.

A $60 billion support package has been stalled in the US Congress since last year, delaying the delivery of crucial weapons and ammunition to Ukrainian troops on the front lines.

“I briefed Speaker Johnson on the battlefield situation, specifically the dramatic increase in Russia’s air terror,” Zelensky said he told Johnson during a call on Thursday.

“In this situation, quick passage of US aid to Ukraine by Congress is vital,” he said in a readout of the call posted on Telegram.

Moscow launched last Friday its largest aerial attack on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure of the two-year war.

Zelensky said Russia fired 190 missiles, 140 drones, and 700 guided aerial bombs at Ukrainian territory in total last week.

The attacks saw power cut to more than a million homes and took the country’s largest hydroelectric power plant offline.

Washington has been Kyiv’s key military backer since Russia invaded in February 2022.

But the latest major aid package has been held up by wrangling in the Republican party over President Joe Biden‘s immigration policies.

Zelensky has repeatedly said delays to aid cost Ukrainian lives and territory on the battlefield.

Ukrainian soldiers have been forced to ration ammunition amid uncertainty over when the crucial next deliveries will arrive.

Meanwhile, Moscow has regained the initiative on the battlefield. Last month its forces made their first significant territorial gain in nine months with the capture of Avdiivka, a frontline town close to the Russian-held stronghold of Donetsk.

Johnson, who as Speaker controls what bills get brought to a vote in the House of Representatives, said last week he was looking at a “number of avenues” regarding aid to Ukraine.

The $60 billion package has already been approved by the Senate.

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