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Zelenskyy calls for same defense from allies as for Israel
Europe Ukraine

Zelenskyy calls for same defense from allies as for Israel

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called on Western allies Monday to display the same “unity” toward Ukraine as they did toward Israel when they thwarted an Iranian aerial assault against the Israeli skies over this past weekend.

“By defending Israel, the free world has demonstrated that such unity is not only possible, but also 100% effective,” he said.

In a post on Telegram, Zelenskyy thanked allies who had come to Ukraine’s aid for more air defenses but said “the intensity of Russian attacks requires greater unity,” as they showed in the defense of Israel.

“The same is possible in defending Ukraine, which, like Israel, is not a NATO member, from terror,” he continued. He called for “political will” from Ukraine’s allies, as Ukraine is growing short of ammunition and desperate for more air defenses to repel Russian attacks.

Zelenskyy issued his latest call for allies’ help, saying Russia is inflicting “significant damage” every day.

In a news conference earlier Monday, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba also addressed the readiness of Western allies to defend Israel and called for more support for Ukraine “as soon as possible.”

“We see that when allies act as one in a very coordinated way, not a single missile falls on the targets, reaches targets in Israel,” Kuleba said alongside his Norwegian counterpart, who is visiting Kyiv.

Israel’s military said it intercepted 99% of the aerial threats with the help of the United States and other allies, and that the overnight attack caused only minor damage.

“Everything we are asking from partners, even if you cannot act the way you act in Israel, give us what we need, and we will do the rest of the job,” Kuleba added.

Speaking via video to the Second Black Sea Security Conference in the Bulgarian capital, Sofia, Kuleba said increasing Ukraine’s air defense will also strengthen regional and global stability, as it in turn protects the security of Ukraine’s neighbors and the entire Black Sea region from Russian aerial terror.

“Today, there’s no other language Moscow understands better than the language of force. This is what they respect, anything else is seen as a weakness,” the Ukrainian foreign minister said.

Kuleba also said the Black Sea must become “the sea of NATO, of peace and stability,” calling on the alliance to implement “a comprehensive and ambitious Black Sea strategy aimed at reducing Russia’s malign influence.”

In the same conference, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke via video and underscored the importance of investing in the Black Sea region’s security to ensure peace and freedom across Europe.

House Speaker Mike Johnson, left, arrives for a closed-door meeting with fellow Republicans at the Capitol in Washington, April 15, 2024.

House Speaker Mike Johnson, left, arrives for a closed-door meeting with fellow Republicans at the Capitol in Washington, April 15, 2024.

US aid bill

U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Mike Johnson is expected to decide this week on how to handle President Joe Biden’s $95 billion aid package, which includes $60 billion for Ukraine and $14 billion for Israel. The bill also includes the Indo-Pacific and addresses aid for the U.S. southern border with Mexico. The package was passed by the Senate but stalled in the House.

The aid initiative has gained new urgency after Iran’s weekend missile and drone attack on Israel, despite fierce opposition in the deeply divided Congress.

Many conservative Republican lawmakers, especially those closely allied with former President Donald Trump, fiercely oppose sending billions more dollars to Ukraine. Trump has been skeptical of assisting Kyiv in its fight against Moscow. Johnson could be ousted as speaker if he allows the Ukraine aid to move ahead.

On the ground

Ukraine’s air defense shortages and the Kharkiv region’s proximity to the Russian border is leaving the area especially vulnerable to strikes on energy infrastructure, which have caused large-scale power cuts.

Russian forces killed two people and injured four more after striking an education facility in the Kharkiv region on Monday, Kharkiv Oblast Governor Oleh Syniehubov said on the Telegram messaging app.

Syniehubov added that the four wounded people were hospitalized with blast injuries and shrapnel wounds.

With the weather getting warmer, Russia has intensified its strikes in the eastern front with the Kharkiv region bearing the brunt of the attacks.

Ukrainian officials reported deadly Russian shelling in the eastern region of Donetsk, while Russia said it thwarted a Ukrainian drone attack in an area near the Black Sea.

Vadym Filashkin, regional governor of Donetsk, said on Telegram that Russian shelling killed four people in the town of Siversk.

Russia has repeatedly hit the area since invading Ukraine in early 2022.

Russia’s Defense Ministry said its air defenses destroyed a Ukrainian drone over the Krasnodar area, which is located near Crimea.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters, The Associated Press and Agence France-Presse.