Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stressed the urgent need for long-range weapons such as ATACMS, which Ukraine has repeatedly requested from the United States, during his visit to the Czech Republic on Friday, as reported by REUTERS.
As the war with Russia and the tactical situation in Ukraine does not seem to be abating, Zelensky expressed the vital role that these weapons would play in defending his country against the Russian forces that have invaded its territory.
Speaking at a joint press conference with Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala, Zelensky focused on the challenges facing Ukraine without access to long-range weapons, stating:
“Without long-range weapons, it is difficult not only to carry out an offensive mission but also to conduct a defensive operation.” He further stressed that Ukraine’s ability to defend itself against Russian invasion depends on obtaining such weapons and the responsibility lies with the United States to provide them.
Zelensky’s visit to Prague was part of a wider foreign tour leading up to the upcoming NATO summit, where he called for the military alliance to urge it to take concrete steps towards granting Ukraine membership status. The Ukrainian President is actively seeking support from NATO member countries, stressing the importance of their assistance in strengthening Ukraine’s defence capabilities. The acquisition of long-range weapons is a critical aspect of this effort, but it is finding several obstacles as the US does not seem to want to allow strike capabilities deep into Russian territory.
In addition to his NATO ambitions, Zelenski called for the opening of accession talks with the European Union during his visit to Prague. The Ukrainian President stressed the urgency of starting negotiations this year, highlighting the mutual benefits that Ukraine and the European Union would gain from such cooperation.
Ukraine’s membership in both NATO and the European Union is a forbidding issue for most leaders at the moment as Russian troops still occupy Ukrainian territory.
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