News Europe Zelensky’s obstacle course to save Ukraine

Zelensky’s obstacle course to save Ukraine

Zelensky’s obstacle course to save Ukraine

Volodymyr Zelensky stood up to the Senate and Congress of the United States on Tuesday. The Ukrainian president had to appear by videoconference in two closed-door meetings to inform US legislative representatives about the need to immediately approve a new package of economic and military assistance for his country. Zelensky did not connect to the meetings without giving an explanation. The reason, as the American press has speculated, is the opposition confirmed on Tuesday morning by the Republican Party to supporting the aid package proposed by the White House.

“We are at war and things can change,” said Ukrainian Defense Minister Rustem Umerov on Fox News to justify Zelensky’s absence. But the Ukrainian president never misses an opportunity to explain himself in international forums, especially if it is to address the congressmen and senators of his greatest ally along with the European Union. The president’s reaction has been interpreted above all as a sign of nervousness in the face of the growing difficulties he faces on the international stage and in war.

Umerov visited Washington this week with Zelensky’s right-hand man, Andrii Yermak. The latter declared in Voice of America that if the amount of 61,000 million dollars (56,500 million euros) that the president, Joe Biden, has requested from Congress for Ukraine is not approved “as quickly as possible,” “it is very likely that we will not be able to continue liberating our territory and that we lose the war.”

Mikola Bieliskov, a researcher at the National Institute for Strategic Studies – dependent on the Ukrainian presidency – insisted on December 4 on his social networks that the Republican blockade questions the veracity of the rhetoric of Ukraine’s allies that they will support it “over time.” that is necessary.” The Ukrainian authorities are optimistic about an agreement between the Republicans and the White House, but sources close to the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry confirm to EL PAIS that what happened is a warning of the dark clouds that may appear in 2024, especially during the tension that will accompany the US presidential election campaign.

kyiv’s foreign headaches do not end in the United States. The European Union will hold the summit this December that should formalize the start of Ukraine’s accession negotiations to the EU. A threat is planned on this, Viktor Orban. The Hungarian Prime Minister, close to Vladimir Putin’s geopolitical interests, has insisted on blocking the start of negotiations if more autonomy is not granted to the Hungarian minority in Ukraine.

The situation on both sides of the Atlantic indicates that the problems will get worse. The newspaper Financial Times reported on December 3 that EU member states are not agreeing on the approval of a 50 billion euro budget for Ukraine. This also coincides with the border blockades on the transport of Ukrainian goods and agricultural products by Poland and Slovakia, because they consider that their low costs are unfair competition.

political battle

The stagnation on the front, with no signs that Ukraine will be able to advance militarily in 2024 due to Russian superiority in resources, is fueling a new state of unrest in the country. Political hostilities have broken out this week. Vitali Klichko, mayor of kyiv, last week accused Zelensky of running the country in the image of Putin. “We will no longer differ from Russia, where everything depends on a person’s mood,” said the mayor of kyiv in the weekly Der Spiegel. Klichko criticized the president for not having adequately prepared the country in 2022 for warnings of a possible Russian invasion, and also for excessive accumulation of power, to the detriment of Parliament and the Government. Alexei Goncharenko, the most visible face of European Solidarity, an opposition party, emphasized the same and added that the president’s office had most of the media under control.

A spokesman for Orban told the press that his government “does not want to have any role in President Zelensky’s political infighting.” European Solidarity reacted by denouncing that the authorities grant many more permits to leave the country to the deputies of Servant of the People, Zelensky’s party.

Clash with Zaluzhni

Surveys indicate that the stalemate of the war conflict has been sapping the spirits of society, especially those who do not want to be involved in a war that lasts many more years. Although he continues to be the highest-rated politician, confidence in Zelensky’s management is decreasing. The one who does maintain a high evaluation by the citizens is Valeri Zaluzhni, commander in chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, much better considered in demographic points than the president, according to a survey published by The Economist this December. The bad relationship between the two main leaders of the country at war is already an open secret. The newspaper Pravda published an extensive report this week in which it focused on the differences that exist between them, especially due to Yermak’s demands that Zaluzhni not have a public presence and due to the president’s unilateral decisions in military appointments. Pravda He assures that Zaluzhni has even openly criticized Zelensky in his meetings with senior US military commanders, something that the president knows and that has further distanced them.

Last summer, the presidential office fueled a debate in the media about the convenience of holding legislative and presidential elections. The first were to be called this fall and the second in March 2024. The Constitution prohibits holding elections while martial law is in force, but both Zelensky’s team and he indicated that a legal reform was possible that would give room for the holding of the elections. From the United States there has been pressure from the two main parties for the votes to be held, but a majority of Ukrainians are against them due to the difficulties in being organized with security guarantees and with opportunities for the opposition.

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