(Bloomberg) -- President Volodymyr Zelenskiy implored Congress to maintain US military assistance to Ukraine, telling lawmakers who are blocking new aid that the alternative is to risk an eventual Russian attack on a NATO country that would draw in American soldiers.
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“If Russia will kill all of us, they will attack NATO countries and you will send your sons and daughters,” Zelenskiy said in an interview with NBC’s Meet the Press to be broadcast Sunday. “And it will be — I’m sorry, but the price will be higher.”
Military aid to Ukraine faces a groundswell of skepticism in Washington, causing rifts among Republican lawmakers that are helping delay President Joe Biden’s request for the next installment of assistance. Zelenskiy urged Congress “not to lose the will, not to lose this strong position and not to lose your democracy.”
Zelenskiy restated his conviction that the fight to reverse Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion and occupation of parts of Ukraine puts the country at the front line for western democracy, Europe and “our common values.” His scenario for the consequences of any Russian move on a NATO country alluded to the alliance’s collective defense clause.
Read more: Republican Defense Hawks Have Had It With Party Populists
House Republicans in Washington last week defied Biden by passing a bill that separated aid to Israel from his broader request for $106 billion, which also includes emergency funding to assist Ukraine, Taiwan and US border enforcement.
While House Speaker Mike Johnson has pledged to consider aid to Ukraine, some Republicans in the Senate are insisting on border security changes as the price of moving on Ukraine.
Zelenskiy rebuffed suggestions that his military’s push to retake Russian-occupied territory is at a stalemate. He restated his stance that any peace talks would require a Russian withdrawal.
“Yeah, people are tired,” he told NBC. “But on the whole, our people are ready to defend, like in the first days.”
On Saturday, Zelenskiy pushed back on an NBC News report that US and European officials have begun pressuring Kyiv toward possible peace negotiations with Russia.
“I do not know who is publishing this and for what,” Zelenskiy said at a press conference with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
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