Zelenskiy counts on more Western defence aid for Ukraine in next two months

By Nick Starkov

KYIV (Reuters) – President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Saturday that he expected a number of new Western defence packages for Ukraine to be signed this and next month.

“We are preparing new agreements with partners – strong bilateral agreements,” Zelenskiy said in his nightly video address.

“January and February should bring corresponding results. There are already specific dates when new and strong documents can be expected.”

After Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Kyiv’s Western allies united in providing unprecedented military and other aid to help Zelenskiy defend his country.

But with the war now dragging on towards its third year, little change along the front line in the past 12 months and growing opposition to more aid in the United States, funds and equipment in recent months have been slow coming in.

Zelenskiy did not name the countries with which he hoped to finalise agreements. The Ukrainian president has spent weeks on an international diplomatic frenzy trying to secure more political and military support.

He has often repeated that Russia’s increased winter air strikes and Moscow’s slow but gruelling offensive in Ukraine’s east have underlined the need for more reinforcement of Kyiv’s air and ground defences.

Earlier this month, Britain, one of Kyiv’s staunchest supporters, said it will increase its support for Ukraine in the next financial year to 2.5 billion pounds ($3.19 billion).

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday he would head to Ukraine in February to finalise a bilateral security guarantee deal under which Paris would deliver more sophisticated weaponry, including long-range cruise missiles.

(Writing by Lidia Kelly in Melbourne; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)