Ukraine needs to win war before winter: top official

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Jul 20 2022 07:07 AM

Ukrainian military members collect pieces of a missile on a site following Russian airstrikes in the Shevchenkivskiy district of Kyiv (Kiev), Ukraine, June 26, 2022. Multiple airstrikes hit the center of Kyiv in the morning. Russian troops on Feb. 24 entered Ukrainian territory, starting the conflict that has provoked destruction and a humanitarian crisis. Roman Pilipey, EPA-EFE
Ukrainian military members collect pieces of a missile on a site following Russian airstrikes in the Shevchenkivskiy district of Kyiv (Kiev), Ukraine, June 26, 2022. Multiple airstrikes hit the center of Kyiv in the morning. Russian troops on Feb. 24 entered Ukrainian territory, starting the conflict that has provoked destruction and a humanitarian crisis. Roman Pilipey, EPA-EFE

KYIV - Ukraine must win its war with Russia before winter to prevent its neighbor from bedding in long term, presidential chief of staff Andriy Yermak said Tuesday.

"It is very important for us not to enter into the winter. After winter, when the Russians will have more time to get a footing, it will certainly be more difficult. It is very important for us not to give them this possibility," Yermak told Ukrainian weekly Novoye Vremya. 

He repeated Kyiv's view that Ukraine's Western allies should supply it with more arms, and said he was counting on multibillion-dollar pledges of US aid in the form of weaponry and economic support.

The Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act package signed in May by US President Joe Biden to expedite that support is due to come fully into operation from next month.

"Our objective is victory," said Yermak. 

He said any ongoing talks with Russia revolved simply around how to export Ukrainian grain from blockaded ports -- not how to end the conflict after Russia invaded in February.

"These negotiations are taking place at military and foreign affairs ministry level... with UN mediation," Yermak said.

"I'm in touch with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, I do not communicate with the Russians," he stressed.

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