Zelenskiy urges Ukrainians to seize initiative to determine war’s outcome

(Reuters) – President Volodymyr Zelenskiy urged Ukraine and its people on Wednesday to seize the initiative to help determine the course of the 22-month-old war against Russia and secure world-wide support.

Zelenskiy has returned home from discussions with political and business leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos, where he urged the West to tighten sanctions pressure on the Kremlin and to step up its support for Kyiv.

Several months after a Ukrainian counteroffensive has produced limited results, the Ukrainian leader has expressed confidence that aid from Washington delayed by infighting in the U.S. Congress will soon be forthcoming.

There have also been delays in securing promised aid from the European Union.

“Ukraine needs an ambitious and proactive perspective so that the initiative lies within our country, not with the enemy, so that the end of the war depends on Ukrainian actions,” Zelenskiy said in his nightly video address.

“The world supports those who have a certain perspective. And that is the fundamental task — to maintain the initiative so that we have the opportunity to become stronger.”

With the Kremlin’s invasion approaching the two-year mark in February, front lines have remained virtually unchanged for several months.

Zelenskiy has been beset by differences with the commander in chief of Ukraine’s armed forces over the conduct of the war.

And parliament, amid lively public debate, has yet to consider a law on mobilisation to ensure the armed forces have sufficient manpower.

Zelenskiy visited Washington last month to try to persuade Congress to free up the funds and buttress Ukraine war campaign.

But the package proposed by President Joe Biden has been stalled as opposition Republicans in Congress have refused to consider any legislation unless it is tied to an overhaul of border security measures.

Republican U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Mike Johnson said on Wednesday that a meeting with Biden and Democrats in the Senate was “productive.”

But Johnson said that Republicans were still not wavering on an insistence that new measures to secure the U.S. border with Mexico were the priority for them.

(Reporting by Ron Popeski and Oleksandr Kozhukhar; Editing by Sandra Maler)