Andriy Yermak, head of the Ukrainian President’s Office, told the state-run Ukrinform news agency the three days of meetings with representatives of Congress, academics and diplomats, and senior members of the administration of US President Joe Biden were successful, and that he is confident that strong American support to Ukraine in its war against Russia will continue.
“We are coming back (to Ukraine) with a clear feeling that the United States of America, as Ukraine’s friend, is still standing with us and believes in our victory. We are coming back with the feeling that today, the level of cooperation and our strategic partnership is unprecedented," Yermak said in a Tuesday evening statement.
Washington and the Biden administration are aware of the situation in Ukraine and “are very determined to continue assistance,” Yermak said. Congress must work through “certain issues” to approve new assistance packages to Ukraine, but Kyiv is confident the US legislature will after debate approve continued and substantial military aid to Ukraine, Yermak said.
“I think we have been heard,” he said. “Ukraine is respected, Ukraine is believed in, Ukraine will continue to receive help.”
Yermak in Wednesday comments on his personal Telegram channel said meetings earlier in the week with members of the Ukrainian Caucus in Congress, both from the Senate and the House, had been highly productive and that elected officials on both sides of the aisle assured him Ukraine can be confident of strong, bilateral support in the US legislature.
Among US Senators met by Yermak personally, and according to him all legislators committed to continued and substantial aid to Ukraine, were Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), Jeanne Shaheen (D-New Hampshire), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota), Dick Durbin (D-Illinois), Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi), Mike Bennett (D-Colorado) and Tim Kaine (D-Virginia), John Cornyn (R-Texas), John Cotton (R-Arkansas), Mark Rubio (R-Florida), Susan Collins (R-Maine), John Hoeven (R-North Dakota) and Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), the statement said.
Top Ukrainian needs communicated to Congressional members by Yermak’s team included long-range strike systems, artillery, artillery and small arms ammunition, tanks and other armored vehicles, and air defense systems, he said.
Aside from material assistance, the Ukrainian team and Congressional representatives and staffs discussed Euro-Atlantic integration of Ukraine, possible security guarantees to Ukraine before the acquisition of full membership in NATO, and confiscation of frozen Russian assets to finance Ukraine’s post-war reconstruction, Yermak said.
According to Presidential administration statements made public in Kyiv, Yermak on Tuesday met with US President's national security adviser Jake Sullivan, British Prime Minister's national security adviser Timothy Barrow, the German Chancellor's foreign policy adviser Jens Plötner and the French President's foreign policy adviser Emmanuel Bonn.
Discussions focused on the battlefield situation and a commercial ship “grain corridor” operating along the western shore of the Black Sea allowing vessels carrying grain and other goods from Ukrainian ports to sail safely near or through NATO nation waters, despite a declared Russian naval blockade on all Ukrainian maritime exports, Yermak said.
“The Ukrainian army has already recaptured about 50 percent of the previously occupied territories, but today the number of the Russian group in Ukraine is three times larger than at the beginning of the aggression, so our country needs to maintain international support,” Yermak said in a Wednesday statement. The US, British, German and French officials understand Ukraine’s situation and assured him their countries “would support Ukraine as much as possible,” he said.
Zelensky in a Tuesday evening national television address profiled Yermak’s Washington visit described it as successful and said the Ukrainian delegation’s main job had been “to get strengthened sanctions against Russia.” Yermak in public comments reported the subject was discussed.
In a Tuesday speech at the US think tank the Hudson Institute reported by the news agency Bloomberg, Yermak predicted 2024 will be a turning point and increasing Western assistance to Ukraine would end the Russo-Ukraine War’s present stalemate, saying “The war’s breaking point is approaching. Next year will be decisive.”
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