Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has condemned Iran’s drone and missile attack on Israel and said that his country needed help from its allies to fend off threats from the air, just as Israel did.
Zelensky again called on the US Congress to approve a vital aid package that has been blocked by political wrangling for months.
Ukraine’s forces are facing new onslaughts from Russian troops in the east and daily attacks on cities and infrastructure from Russian missiles and drones.
Writing on the social media platform X, Zelensky said: “Iran’s actions threaten the entire region and the world, just as Russia’s actions threaten a larger conflict, and the obvious collaboration between the two regimes in spreading terror must face a resolute and united response from the world.”
Speaking later in his nightly video address, the president said the world had seen that “Israel was not alone in its defence – the threats in the sky were also destroyed by its allies”.
“And when Ukraine says allies cannot turn a blind eye to Russian missiles and drones, it means that it is necessary to act, and act strongly,” he said.
Ukraine’s skies, he said, were “not protected by rhetoric”.
“And the fact that we in Ukraine have been waiting months for a vital support package – the fact that we are still waiting for a vote in Congress – testifies to the fact that the confidence of terrorists has also been growing for months,” he said. “There is no more time to be wasted.”
Steve Scalise, majority leader in the US House of Representatives, said on Saturday in response to the Iranian attack that the House would change its schedule to consider legislation that supports Israel and holds Iran accountable.
It was not immediately clear to which legislation he was referring.
Iran has supplied thousands of Shahed kamikaze drones to Russia throughout its invasion of Ukraine launched in February 2022.
They have been used to exhaust Ukrainian air defences and hit infrastructure far from the front lines.
For months Zelensky has urged Ukraine’s Western allies, particularly the United States, to summon the “political will” to provide the air defences and weaponry Ukraine needs.
The president said on Saturday that Germany would supply a US-made Patriot air defence system and air defence missiles to Ukraine at a “critical time”.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian Defence Minister Rustem Umerov said that the situation was “tense” on its eastern front, where the Russian army is doubling down on efforts to seize the strategic town of Chassiv Iar.
He said he had visited troops on the frontier, where Ukrainian forces are outnumbered and running low on ammunition.
He said “the situation is tense”, a day after Kyiv warned that the situation on its eastern front was significantly worsening.
If Moscow manages to capture Chassiv Iar, it would “create conditions for a deeper advance” towards the key Ukrainian transport hub of Kramatorsk, said Ukraine’s commander-in-chief Oleksandr Syrsky.
Kramatorsk town is the major rail and logistics hub for the Ukrainian army, 30km (19 miles) from Chassiv Iar.
Russia has been trying to break through to the west of Bakhmut – a town conquered by the Russians in May 2023 after a bloody battle – according to Umerov.
In recent weeks, Moscow has claimed the capture of several small villages, notably near the industrial town of Avdiivka on Saturday.
It has also ramped up its aerial bombardments on Ukraine’s infrastructure in recent weeks, with Zelensky saying the Kremlin was aiming to drive people from second city Kharkiv.
Kyiv’s brigades were holding back the assaults near Chassiv Iar for now and had been reinforced with ammunition, drones and electronic warfare devices, Syrsky said in a statement on the Telegram messenger.
“The threat remains relevant, taking into account the fact that the higher Russian military leadership has set its troops the task of capturing Chassiv Iar by May 9,” he said, without elaborating.
Russia marks May 9 with a big military parade on Red Square overseen by President Vladimir Putin who won a new six-year term in the Kremlin at a tightly-controlled election in March.
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