Zelensky Criticizes Biden’s Restrictions on US Weapons in Ukraine Conflict

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has criticized the Biden administration’s restrictions on the use of US weapons to strike Russian military targets, stating that these limitations are hindering Ukraine’s ability to effectively defend itself against Russian aggression.

Speaking at the Reagan Institute in Washington, D.C., Zelensky expressed frustration that the international community had initially rallied behind Ukraine when Russia invaded in 2022, but has since become hesitant to take decisive action. “When Putin decided to break everything, we all acted as one… and we did survive,” he said. “Then the world saw that Putin could lose and democracy can win… But then, what happened? When did it step into the shadows? When did one start thinking that it’s better to delay than act?”

Zelensky’s remarks came as he met with US lawmakers and officials, and as President Biden faced growing pressure from congressional Democrats over his performance in the recent presidential debate. The Ukrainian leader urged the US to take a more robust approach to supporting Ukraine, including providing deeper strike capabilities to target Russian military and logistics in Crimea.

The restrictions on US weapons, Zelensky said, prevent Ukrainian forces from striking Russian targets beyond a certain distance from the Ukrainian border. He argued that this limited ability to respond to Russian aggression is making it difficult for Ukraine to defend its cities and territory. “We can protect our cities from Russian guided bombs if American leadership takes a step forward and allows us to destroy Russian military aircraft on their bases,” he said.

Zelensky’s comments also touched on the potential implications of a Trump presidency, with some of his allies arguing that Ukraine should surrender territory to Russia to end the fighting. However, the Ukrainian leader emphasized that his country is committed to defending its sovereignty and territorial integrity, and that it is up to the international community to support Ukraine in this effort.

The Ukrainian president’s remarks were seen as a veiled critique of Biden’s approach to the conflict, and an attempt to persuade Republicans to take a more proactive role in supporting Ukraine. Zelensky’s comments were met with a mixture of applause and skepticism from the audience, with some observers noting that his words may have been intended to appeal to Republicans who are critical of Biden’s leadership.

Joel Gehrke
Joel Gehrke
Joel Gehrke is a foreign affairs reporter, with an emphasis on U.S. competition with China and Russia, Middle East policy following the U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear agreement, and the crisis in Venezuela. Previously, he covered domestic politics for National Review Online.

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