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Zelensky says victory possible this year but warns allies of inadequate cooperation in several areas

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had an optimistic view on the end of the war for his European allies, while also warning of some areas that he believes need improvement.

He said, “if our joint efforts are resolutely focused on Ukraine’s victory, the victory will be gained already this year.”

“No one knows for sure how long the war will last and which battles will bring us success faster and which ones will require more effort. But what is clear is that if there are no delays or stagnation in our cooperation, that if our joint efforts are resolutely focused on Ukraine’s victory, the victory will be gained already this year,” Zelensky told a meeting of the European Council.

The Ukrainian President said he appreciated European support for the work of the International Criminal Court and efforts to launch a compensation scheme that would use billions in seized Russian assets to rehabilitate Ukraine.

But he said there were several areas where cooperation was still lacking:

  • Delays in supplying long-range missiles. Zelensky referred to the Russian missile attack on Wednesday against Zaporizhzhia.
  • Ukraine’s need for modern combat planes. Zelensky said he was grateful to Poland and Slovakia for sending MiG 29s to Ukraine — “but we need modern aircraft.”
  • Delays to a new sanctions package. Zelensky said “global efforts are not yet sufficient to prevent Russia from adapting to the sanctions and from circumventing them through third countries.”
  • International support for Ukraine’s peace formula. Zelensky said he was ready for a summit to discuss what he called “the only realistic and comprehensive plan to restore Ukraine’s territorial integrity and guarantee security for our people and for the whole of Europe.”

Zelensky said Ukraine was progressing in developing its institutions to European standards and its “transformation into a modern, fully accountable to society, corruption-free and institutionally stable” state. It was critical that its accession path to the European Union not be impeded, he said.

“Ukraine is ready for a decision to start accession negotiations on EU membership already this year. The same readiness is needed from all of you — every leader in Europe.”

Zelensky ended his speech by warning that “If Europe hesitates, evil may have time to regroup and prepare itself for years of war.”

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