Zelensky says new U.S. aid will give Ukraine ‘a chance for victory’ against Russia

Preserving Ukraine as an "independent and sovereign" nation is in the U.S.'s best interest, the Ukrainian president said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said new aid from the U.S. provides hope for soldiers on the battlefield. (Twitter)
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said new aid from the U.S. provides hope for soldiers on the battlefield. (Twitter)

In an interview on NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said his country has “a chance for victory” against Russia if the Senate passes a bill that would send roughly $61 billion in aid to Ukraine.

“I think this support will really strengthen the armed forces of Ukraine, and we will have a chance for victory,” Zelensky told host Kristen Welker, adding that air defense and long-range artillery are top priorities in his country’s defense against Russia.

“We need long-range weapons to not lose people on the front lines,” said Zelensky. “We have casualties because we cannot reach that far. Our weapons are not that long-range, so we need it, and air defense. This is crucial. These are the priorities now.”

The House voted 311-112 to approve the aid package on Saturday, which will give Ukraine over $23 billion to replenish weapons, stocks and facilities, as well as nearly $14 billion to cover costs for advanced weapons systems. The bill also includes funding for security assistance to Israel and Taiwan.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer will now bring it to the Senate floor for a vote on Tuesday, where it’s expected to pass.

Zelensky, who has pleaded with the U.S. to send more assistance for six months, also thanked Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson for pushing the bill ahead despite pushback from Republican colleagues.

“This aid will strengthen Ukraine and send the Kremlin a powerful signal that it will not be the second Afghanistan,” Zelensky said on Sunday. “The United States will stay with Ukraine, it will protect Ukrainians and will protect democracy in the world. This is a show of leadership and strength in the United States.”

To that end, “we want to get things as fast as possible so we can get some tangible assistance for the soldiers on the frontline as soon as possible — not in another six months,” he explained.

According to a recent report by the Washington Post, former President Donald Trump has privately told associates that he believes he could end the war, which is now in its second year, by convincing Ukrainian leaders to cede territories to Russia — including the Donbas region and Crimea, which Russia illegally annexed in 2014.

When asked about those claims during Sunday’s interview, Zelensky said he doesn’t believe in “rumors” and hearsay.

“When Trump comes here and [tells] me their formula of peace, then I will be able to provide a response,” he said, adding that “having Ukraine independent and sovereign and democratic is of interest for both the Republicans and Democrats.”

Zelensky explained that Russia reportedly plans on mobilizing 300,000 soldiers by June 1, which is why Ukraine is preparing for a major invasion in the coming months — but until they get more weapons, he said, Ukrainian soldiers remain vulnerable.

US President Joe Biden and Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky hold a joint press conference in the Indian Treaty Room of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, next to the White House, in Washington, DC, on December 12, 2023. (Photo by Mandel NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
U.S. President Joe Biden and Zelensky hold a joint press conference in Washington, DC in 2023. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Amid reports claiming that morale is declining among Ukrainians, Zelensky said new U.S. aid will fuel the motivation they desperately need.

“The morale can go down, especially when they go to the frontline and see that there are no shells, there is no equipment,” he explained. “That’s why the aid from the U.S. is so important.”

“We have a lot of people who are ready to protect the motherland,” he insisted. “This war is the war for the sake of all of us. This is our land. We don’t have another place to go and the citizens of Ukraine understand that.”