Zelensky: Ukrainian army wants up to 500,000 additional soldiers

According to President Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian army has asked for the mobilization of hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians in the war against Russia. The military leadership has suggested mobilizing “450,000 to 500,000” forces, Zelensky said on Tuesday at his year-end press conference in Kiev. But he needed “more arguments to support this idea,” Zelenskyj continued. The head of state also announced that Ukraine would receive more Patriot air defense systems.

“Several new Patriot systems will be in Ukraine to protect our country in winter,” Zelensky said. He promised not to reveal the number. The arms deliveries are a “very important result” of his recent trips abroad.

Zelenskyj recently visited several Western countries, including the USA, to promote further military and political support for Ukraine. Kiev is currently demanding additional arms supplies from its Western allies, but they are becoming increasingly reluctant. According to the US-based think tank Institute for the Study of War (ISW), Ukraine is already forced to ration ammunition.

In Kiev, Zelenskyj assured that he trusts that the USA will not “betray” Ukraine and will keep the agreements. At the same time, he stated that a possible victory by Republican Donald Trump in the US presidential election at the end of 2024 could have a major impact on the course of the war. Trump will “certainly pursue a different policy” towards Ukraine.

Zelensky also said he wanted to speak to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban about blocked European Union funds for Ukraine. Last week, Orban vetoed further economic aid from the EU totaling 50 billion euros. However, Orban refrained from blocking the accession negotiations with Ukraine and neighboring Moldova. “We are neighbors and we are trying to find solutions to our questions, but for this we need to organize a meeting,” Zelensky said.

Zelensky rejected the possibility of negotiations with Russia. Zelensky said he doesn’t see any request for negotiations from Moscow and doesn’t see anything like that in Russia’s actions. “I only see arrogance and murder in their rhetoric.”

Meanwhile, British Foreign Secretary David Cameron assured Ukraine of continued support from Britain and France at a meeting with his French counterpart Catherine Colonna. London and Paris have been “strong supporters” of Ukraine so far and will “continue to be,” Cameron said at a joint press conference. It is “crucial that Putin loses the war,” said Cameron, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

According to Colonna, continued support for Kiev is about ensuring “that Russian aggression cannot be rewarded.” Cooperation between London and Paris “could be expanded even further,” said the minister.

UN Human Rights Commissioner Volker Türk complained that the international community was becoming increasingly war-weary about the Ukraine war. “The world’s attention seems to have been dulled by the numerous crises we are facing,” Turk told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Meanwhile, in view of the Russian offensive in the Kharkiv region, the Ukrainian army admitted that the situation was “complicated” for it in the area in the northeast of the country. The Russian troops are “superior” in terms of weapons and personnel in the region around the city of Kupyansk, said Oleksandr Syrsky, the commander of the Ukrainian army, on the Telegram online service. But the Ukrainian troops held their positions.