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Melnyk: Need Tenfold Military Aid Against Russia

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The Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister Andriy Melnyk has called for a tenfold increase in Western military aid against the Russian war of aggression. “We are grateful to our allies for their military assistance. But that’s not enough,” the former Ukrainian ambassador to Germany wrote on Twitter on Saturday evening. “Ukraine needs ten times more to end Russian aggression this year.”

So far, all allies have provided a total of 55 billion US dollars (50 billion euros). But it takes ten times as much, the diplomat emphasized. The partners in the west should finally stop drawing artificial red lines and then spend one percent of their gross domestic product on arms deliveries to Ukraine, Melnyk demanded.

The Ukrainian diplomat said the amounts are small compared to World War II. “The allies should understand the extent of this war,” warned Melnyk, who also appeared on a Ukrainian television talk show on the subject.

Ukraine has been defending itself against the Russian war of aggression for around 14 months with the help of the West, which is supplying weapons and ammunition. Last year, Ukraine also managed to recapture larger areas. The country is currently preparing for a new offensive to liberate even more territories. Russia, too, is now ramping up its wartime economy. The nuclear power is preparing for a long war against Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy had previously reported on the construction of new military units against the background of the expected counter-offensive by Kiev. “We are also actively preparing new brigades and units that will prove themselves at the front,” the 45-year-old said in his daily video address on Friday. His meetings with the General Staff are about providing all means to liberate Ukraine from Russian occupation.

“All of us in Ukraine must understand that the main task of the state is to liberate our territories, to bring back our land and our people from Russian captivity.” State resources are primarily used for this, said the head of state. The front has top priority, he emphasized. He also thanked the Western partners who are helping Ukraine to defend itself as part of the Ramstein format. “Your determination fully reflects the actual situation and needs on the battlefield,” said Zelenskyy.

Meanwhile, despite criticism from the West, Brazil’s head of state Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has again called on Ukraine to hold peace talks with Moscow to end Russia’s war of aggression. “Just as my government condemns the violation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity, we support a negotiated political solution to the conflict,” Lula said on Saturday after meeting Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa in Lisbon.

“We urgently need a group of countries that sits down at the table with both Ukraine and Russia,” Lula added. At the joint press conference, his Portuguese colleague made it clear that he had a different point of view. “President Lula suggests that the road to a just and lasting peace involves prioritizing this negotiation path,” Rebelo de Sousa said. “Portugal’s stance is different: it assumes that any path to peace presupposes that Ukraine has the right to respond to the invasion.”

Lula, who has been in office since January and ruled Brazil from 2003 to 2010, had already declared during a visit to China last week that the United States had to “stop promoting the war and start talking about peace” and also the The European Union must “start talking about peace”.

The White House in Washington then said that Lula was “parroting Russian and Chinese propaganda”. It is deeply problematic when Brazil claims that the US and Europe are not interested in peace or are responsible for the war. On the other hand, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, during a visit to Brasília, expressed his delight at Brazil’s “contribution to finding a solution to this conflict” and praised Lula’s left-wing government for its “clear understanding of how this situation arose”.

Russia and Germany, in turn, are apparently once again expelling each other’s diplomats. Moscow announced on Saturday the expulsion of more than 20 German diplomats. The Foreign Office in Berlin avoided this formulation. It was said, however, that the federal government and the Russian side “were in contact over the past few weeks on questions of staffing the respective foreign missions”. “Today’s flight is related to this.”

According to the foreign office, “embassy staff” were on board the flight. The talks of the past few weeks have been about a “reduction of the Russian intelligence service presence in Germany”. The spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, explained on the state TV channel Zvezda with regard to the announced expulsion of German diplomats that it was a retaliatory measure for the “repeated mass expulsion of employees of the Russian diplomatic missions in Germany”.

Following Zakharova’s statements, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Saturday morning: “We strongly condemn these actions by Berlin.” They “continued to destroy the entire spectrum of German-Russian relations, including their diplomatic dimension”.

On April 5, the German ambassador Géza Andreas von Geyr was “officially” informed of the decision to “significantly limit the maximum number of employees at German diplomatic missions” in Russia. These are “retaliatory measures”. After the start of the Russian military offensive in Ukraine last year, Berlin and Moscow had already expelled diplomats from each other.

Source: Volks Blatt

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