Zelensky “opens fire” on allies and rejects Macron’s truce

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky criticized his Western allies and rejected a truce proposed by his French counterpart during the Olympic Games.

The Ukrainian president has long blamed European countries, but with his forces retreating against the Russian advance in recent weeks, Zelensky pointed fingers at his allies in the most violent attack since the war began more than two years ago.

In an interview with Agence France-Presse (AFP), he stated that the West “fears” both a Russian defeat and a Ukrainian defeat.

The Ukrainian president also accused the allies of preventing him from attacking Russia using their weapons.

Ukraine, a former Soviet country, relies on Western, particularly American, military supplies in its war against Russia. However, Kyiv complains about the withholding of certain weapons and the refusal to use such equipment to attack Russian territory.

NATO fears being drawn into a direct confrontation with Russia, but it has pledged to support Kyiv to prevent its defeat.

In an interview from which AFP broadcast excerpts, Zelensky said his country has only a quarter of the air defense resources it needs, adding that Kyiv needs 120 to 130 F-16 fighter jets to face the Russian air force.

Zelensky explained: “Today, we have 25% of what we need to defend Ukraine, I am talking about air defense systems,” especially American Patriot systems, noting that his country needs “120 to 130” F-16 fighter jets or other modern aircraft “so that Russia does not have air superiority.”

He acknowledged a shortage of Ukrainian forces and issues with low morale but also pointed out that Russia lacks the means to launch a new major offensive on Kyiv.

Zelensky said he rejects the Olympic truce desired by French President Emmanuel Macron during the Games hosted by Paris this year.

The Ukrainian president expressed hope that China, a close ally of Russia, would participate in a peace conference being prepared without Moscow’s involvement.

Kyiv blames Washington for delaying support and sees it as one of the reasons for Russian advances on the battlefields.

After months of stalemate on the fronts, Russia began advancing in the east and recapturing positions it had lost in the Ukrainian counteroffensive in late 2022.

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