Ukraine’s president says he is concerned the Israel-Hamas war will overshadow the conflict that his country is facing with Russia.
In an exclusive interview with the Associated Press, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the Hamas-Israel war could draw away not only attention but also resources from Ukraine as it fights to beat back a Russian invasion.
“Attention equals help. No attention will mean no help,” the president said. “We fight for every bit of attention.”
A recent AP poll indicated that almost half of Americans think Ukraine is already receiving too much U.S. money, and that includes some U.S. Republican lawmakers.
The Ukrainian president said he realizes Americans are facing a tough choice when it comes to Ukraine, but he told AP the consequences of Americans not supporting Ukraine could be harsh and U.S. forces could be deployed to Europe. Without U.S. support, Zelenskyy said, ““Russia will most likely invade NATO countries and then the American children will fight.”
The British Defense Ministry said Friday in its daily intelligence update on Ukraine that Russia’s defense industry is moving to close a gap with Ukraine in the development of one-way attack uncrewed surface vehicles — OWA USVs.
Russia has announced recently that the unmanned attack boats would have a test-run in a military operation and hopefully go into production next year.
The British ministry said the USVs resemble speed boats packed with explosives, and they “have emerged as a key capability” among Ukrainian naval forces since the Russian invasion.
Meanwhile, Ukraine is blaming Russia for the lack of prisoner swaps between the two warring countries over the past few months.
Since the early months of the ongoing war between Ukraine and Russia, Kyiv and Moscow have carried out many prisoner swaps, but their frequency has fallen this year, with no swaps since August.
“Exchanges don’t happen because Russia doesn’t want them to,” Dmytro Lubinets, Ukraine’s human rights commissioner, said on Thursday.
“All the initiatives, desires and actions of Ukraine regarding the return of our defenders from captivity are met by a Russian unwillingness to return its citizens,” Lubinets added on Telegram.
Lubinets also said that Russian prisoners of war held in Ukraine have said they want to be exchanged, but “no one from the Russian side wants to take them back,” the Ukrainian official added.
In Zelenskyy’s nightly address Thursday, he called for quicker construction of fortifications in key frontline areas of eastern Ukraine, which is under pressure from the Russian army.
“In all major sectors where reinforcement is needed, there should be a boost and an acceleration in the construction of structures,” Zelenskyy said.
White House national security spokesperson John Kirby on Thursday said the United States is working with Ukraine to prepare for Russia’s expected winter attack.
Washington predicts Russia will attempt to target Ukraine’s critical energy infrastructure this winter, Kirby said, so the United States is supplying equipment to help people avoid losing heat and electricity.
Russian missiles pounded Ukraine’s Donetsk region Thursday, as concerns grew about more intense attacks from Russia as weather conditions improve.
Ten people were wounded in the missile attacks, including four children. Five other people were trapped in rubble, Ukrainian Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko said Thursday.
In Pokrovsk, Klymenko said, a six-month-old baby was wounded alongside boys aged 13 and 16.
The Donetsk industrial region, which Russia claims to have annexed last year, has seen some of the fiercest fighting in the two-year conflict.
Some information for this report was provided by The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.