| 5 March 2024, Tuesday |

Zelenskyy confident of US, European support

During an end-of-year press conference, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy expressed certainty that vital financial assistance from the US and Europe would persist.
“We are working very hard on this, and I am certain the United States will not betray us,” Zelenskyy said during a televised press briefing in Kyiv. He also said he expected the European Union to approve a €50 billion ($55 billion) aid package soon.

The Ukrainian president also raised the prospect of a potential large mobilization of up to half a million people, but said that no official decision had yet been taken.

In other news, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights says Russia has failed to protect citizens amid its invasion of Ukraine.

Volker Türk added that Russia’s military was guilty of “gross violations of international human rights law.”
Ukrainian officials have been discussing the possibility of reopening Boryspil International Airport — the capital Kyiv’s largest hub that closed after Russia’s invasion — President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said after a Boeing 777-300 operated by local airline Skyline Express took off from the airport with no passengers or cargo on board.

The so-called “technical flight” was a sign the infrastructure remains in working condition and safety can be granted despite constant Russian air attacks.

“A technical transfer of the Boeing 777-300 was performed from Kyiv-Boryspil Airport (KBP) to an airport in Europe, as per the request of the operator, Ukrainian airline Skyline Express,” the airport said on its Facebook page.

Video released by the airport on Tuesday showed a plane taking off and part of a runaway, with no sign of damage. The airport said this was the fourth successful departure since airport operations were disrupted by the war.
During his end-of-year press conference, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy dismissed suggestions of a rift with army chief Valerii Zaluzhnyi and said he maintains a working relationship with the top general.

“Why should I help someone by developing this theme? I have a working relationship with Zaluzhnyi,” Zelenskyy said.

His remarks come amid weeks of speculation about tensions between the two men after Kyiv’s vaunted counteroffensive failed to retake significant parts of Russian-occupied territory. Zelenskyy described the military operation as a “very complicated story” involving the collective input of Ukraine’s military leadership.

Zelenskyy also said Ukraine would next year drastically ramp up its domestic production of modern drones, which have become a crucial factor in the fighting for both sides.

“We will produce 1 million drones next year,” Zelenskyy said. “Our soldiers will receive Ukraine-made drones in their brigades.”

The Ukrainian president rejected the idea of Ukraine joining NATO without the Russian-occupied territories. Ukraine would not agree to such an accession, he told journalists. “We have not received such a proposal from any of our partners. I also find it difficult to imagine what it would look like,” he said, arguing that the strongest security guarantee for Ukraine would be its accession as a whole.

Zelenskyy also dismissed the idea of holding talks with Russia, even as his country faces difficult battles on the ground while struggling to stave off war fatigue among its allies.

“I don’t see a request from Russia. I don’t see it in their actions. I see only arrogance and murder in their rhetoric,” Zelenskyy said, referring to potential negotiations, a topic Vladimir Putin again raised earlier on Tuesday.

  • DW