By JONATHAN J. COOPER, Associated Press
PHOENIX (AP) — A Ukrainian diplomat pleaded for the United States to send weapons to his beleaguered nation in a speech to the Arizona Legislature Thursday, continuing President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s government’s outreach to political institutions and cultures around the world.
Ukraine needs three things to repel Russian invaders and avoid more civilian deaths: “Weapons, weapons and weapons,” Dmytro Kushneruk, Ukraine’s consul general in San Francisco, told lawmakers in arizona. He framed the war not as a struggle between East and West, but as a ‘war for the soul of humanity’, and said time is running out as Russia regroups for an offensive expected in the Donbass region in eastern Ukraine.
Prompt US aid will save civilian lives, he said, and pleaded for people not to look away even as the war drags on.
“The United States cannot afford Ukraine to lose this war,” Kushneruk said. “Because if Russia were to win, then we would all live in a world where predatory states…would use force to redraw borders, and countries and nations would have to prove their right to exist again.”
Kushneruk said Ukraine needs aircraft, anti-aircraft systems, heavy artillery, tanks, rocket systems and long-range missiles that can target Russian ships in the Black Sea.
“You can’t win the war against Russia with just guns and body armor,” Kushneruk said. He said he was addressing state lawmakers to stress the importance for states to maintain tough sanctions that would starve the Russian government of revenue it could use to replenish its resources. military.
The 39-year-old diplomat was previously assigned to the United Nations and the protocol office of Zelenskyy and his predecessor Petro Poroshenko, according to his online biography.
NATO countries agreed on Thursday to increase the supply of weapons to kyiv, including high-tech weapons. The United States says it has provided $1.7 billion for defense and aid to Ukraine since the Russian invasion on February 24.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the United States is “reviewing not only what we have provided and what we continue to provide, but also whether there are additional systems that could make a difference.”
Kushneruk’s speech continues his government’s prolific work to win hearts and minds around the world. Zelenskyy has in recent weeks appealed directly to national legislatures, including the US Congress, and to the United Nations Security Council. And he spoke directly to a global audience in a recorded speech played during the Grammys last weekend.
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