A top aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said the West needs to keep backing Ukraine’s war with Russia and hit back at comments made by Italian Prime Minister Georgia Meloni about growing war fatigue.
Meloni made the comments last week while on the phone with Russian pranksters, who she thought were African Union officials. “There is a lot of fatigue, I have to say the truth, from all the sides. We are near the moment in which everybody understands that we need a way out,” Meloni said.
Andrii Yermak, the head of Zelensky’s office, claimed the West would be less safe if it stopped fueling the proxy war. “Even if there are people who feel this fatigue, I’m sure they don’t want to wake up in a world tomorrow where there will be less freedom and less security, and the consequences of this last for decades,” he said.
Yermak’s pushback comes amid mounting signs that Ukraine will struggle to maintain the support it needs from the US and NATO to keep the war going. NBC News reported last week that US and European officials have finally broached the idea of peace talks with Kyiv after discouraging negotiations throughout the conflict.
Time Magazine’s cover story for this month quoted officials close to Zelensky who said the Ukrainian leader “deludes himself” into thinking Ukraine can beat Russia. A military official said even if Ukraine gets all the weapons it needs from the West, it doesn’t have the manpower to use them.
Ukrainian Commander-in-Chief Gen. Valery Zaluzhny acknowledged the war is a “stalemate” and said it’s unlikely Ukrainian forces will make a breakthrough, drawing a rebuke from Zelensky. “Time has passed, people are tired, regardless of their status, and this is understandable,” Zelensky said. “But this is not a stalemate, I emphasize this once again.”
President Biden has failed to secure new funds to spend on the proxy war as Israel’s onslaught on Gaza has become the priority for many members of Congress. Ukrainian officials have expressed concern that Israel’s war will sap Western support for its conflict.