Zelensky Implores Military To "Show Results" Before NATO Summit Amid Waning Enthusiasm In West

 In a rare public sign of desperation, Ukraine's President Vladimir Zelensky is pleading for his military to "show results" ahead of the major NATO summit to be convened in Lithuania on July 11. This comes amid rumblings out of Washington that US arms to Kiev could slow or be cut if Ukrainian forces are incapable of advancing. 

Over the weekend Zelensky spoke to several journalists and addressed the past several days of headlines out of the West which have suggested the counteroffensive could be failing. He explained that "torrential rains" had "slowed down some processes quite a bit" - but that the reality still is that "every kilometer" of liberated territory and gains "costs lives".

Image: Ukrainian Presidential Press Service

He urged more Western weapons while blaming that gains from last fall had been lost in part because of the late arrival of artillery. His top generals have also been complaining about lack of air superiority, while continuing to press for F-16 fighter jets.

"We stopped because we couldn’t advance. Advancing meant losing people and we had no artillery," he asserted in the press briefing. "We are very cautious in this aspect. Fast things are not always safe."

He then emphasized that he has a duty to his troops and to not take risks that are unnecessary: "If they tell me that two months will pass and thousands of people will die, or three months and fewer people will die, of course, I will choose the latter," Zelensky said. "Between time and people, the most important thing is people."

Related to the pressing urgency of more and continued Western military support, Zelensky specifically called out Republicans in US Congress. Again this comes against the backdrop of Kiev's concerns over waning enthusiasm for the war effort out of Washington and the West at a sensitive moment of NATO's annual summit.

He slammed the "dangerous messages coming from some Republicans" - but praised the Thursday visit of former Vice President Mike Pence. 

"Mike Pence has visited us, and he supports Ukraine. First of all, as an American, and then as a Republican," Zelensky said. "We have bipartisan support. However, there are different messages in their circles regarding support for Ukraine. There are messages coming from some Republicans, sometimes dangerous messages, that there may be less support."

He stressed that maintaining bipartisan support is "the most important thing for Ukraine" regardless of who wins the 2024 US presidential election. He also at one point said, "NATO without Ukraine is not NATO." The UK has meanwhile remained the most outspoken advocate of Kiev's entry into NATO, while Germany and the US have voiced caution and reluctance on the question of eventual full membership. 

With the NATO summit now less than ten days away, the race is on for Ukraine's forces to "show results".

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