Putin must lose’: Zelenskiy arrives in US to try to save $61bn Ukraine aid package


Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has flown to Washington DC in an attempt to rescue a critical $61bn military aid package, while the UK separately hinted that it could increase the value of the arms, ammunition and training that it donates to Kyiv.

Zelenskiy is due to meet the US president, Joe Biden, on Tuesday, as well as US senators and the Republican House speaker, Mike Johnson, at a time when Congress is holding up future American financial support for Kyiv’s war effort.

Shortly after arriving in the US capital, Zelenskiy said Ukraine was counting on the US, and that delays to future rounds of military aid were “dreams come true” for the Russian president, Vladimir Putin.

“Putin must lose,” Zelenskiy said in a speech at the National Defense University in Washington DC. “You can count on Ukraine, and we hope just as much to be able to count on you.”

The Ukrainian leader was introduced by the US defence secretary, Lloyd Austin, who warned there was a danger in failing to provide long-term financial support to Kyiv. “If we do not stand up to the Kremlin’s aggression today, if we do not deter other would-be aggressors, we will only invite more aggression, more bloodshed, and more chaos,” Austin said.

But there is profound uncertainty about future US funding. Republican senators blocked an emergency aid package last week primarily for Ukraine and Israel after conservatives complained at the exclusion of immigration changes they had demanded as part of the package.


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