Zelensky: US Support Vital to Prevent Ukraine from Becoming 'Another Afghanistan'

"This aid will strengthen Ukraine and send a strong signal to the Kremlin that this will not be another Afghanistan," Zelensky said

by Sededin Dedovic
Zelensky: US Support Vital to Prevent Ukraine from Becoming 'Another Afghanistan'
© Michele Tantussi / Getty Images

The adoption by the House of Representatives of the US aid package to Ukraine was hailed by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as a turning point in the ongoing conflict. In an interview with NBC News, Zelensky expressed his belief that this significant support will strengthen Ukraine and deter Russia from repeating the failures of past interventions.

The American aid plan for Ukraine, which was voted by the House of Representatives on Saturday, shows that Ukraine will not be "another Afghanistan", Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said today. The U.S. House of Representatives approved $95 billion in foreign aid to Ukraine, Israel and other U.S.

allies on Saturday, as Democrats and Republicans joined forces after months of resistance from the far right over renewed U.S. support for repelling a Russian invasion. Many Democrats cheered on the floor of the House of Representatives and waved Ukrainian flags.

Passing the aid package was no easy feat. After weeks of intense negotiations, the House finally reached a consensus, awarding Ukraine a whopping $61 billion. This sum represents the culmination of months of relentless campaigning by President Zelenski, who has consistently emphasized the critical need for financial and military aid.

The approval marks a significant shift in US policy, marking a decisive departure from a more cautious approach in the early stages of the conflict.

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-LA) speaks with members of the media following passage of a series of foreign aide bills at© Nathan Howard / Getty Images

President Zelensky emphasized the importance of the aid, stating: "This aid will strengthen Ukraine and send a strong message to the Kremlin that this will not be another Afghanistan." With this statement, Zelensky probably meant that this US aid would reduce the potential for a prolonged war, mirroring the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan that dragged on for more than a decade.
The Soviet army invaded Afghanistan in 1979, only to withdraw in 1989, at the end of an extremely bloody conflict that lasted more than nine years.

After the attacks on September 11, 2001, the US launched a military intervention in that country, which resulted in its withdrawal at the end of August 2021, after almost 20 years. Zelensky said today that some of his forces are "exhausted" and should be "replaced".

"But those new soldiers must have equipment," added Zelenski. The US commitment, as reflected in the aid package, aims to allay fears among the population of Ukraine after several battlefield defeats by its military. Low morale, weak armament and enormous exhaustion of the Ukrainian defenders have put them in a subordinate position for the last few months.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and U.S. President Joe Biden arrive for a news conference in the Indian Treaty Room of th© Alex Wong / Getty Images

The American withdrawal from Afghanistan represents one of the most difficult defeats of the US army.

The chaotic and ultimately unsuccessful Afghan intervention raised concerns about the potential for a similar outcome in Ukraine. Although financial assistance is undoubtedly a critical step, President Zelenski acknowledges the need for further assistance.

He highlighted the exhaustion of some Ukrainian forces and the urgent need for replacement. Equipping these new recruits is paramount to maintaining a strong defense against the Russian offensive. Zelensky seems to want to prepare things for potential further aid packages that may include not only financial support but also the provision of military equipment and training programs.

President Zelensky emphasized that by supporting Ukraine, the US protects not only Ukrainian lives, but also the very principles of democracy around the world. The Russian-Ukrainian war has become a battleground for opposing ideologies, and Ukraine's victory is seen as a triumph of democratic values around the world.

The way forward for Ukraine remains difficult. Despite the American aid package, the war is far from over. Russia's military might is a huge challenge. The Russian Ministry of Defense announced today that the Russian army has taken the place of Bogdanovka, between Bakhmut and Chasov Yar in the east of Ukraine, where Ukrainian troops have been running low on ammunition in recent weeks.

"Units of the 'Southern' forces have completely conquered the town of Bogdanovka, in the People's Republic of Donetsk," the Russian Ministry of Defense announced. Bogdanovka, a village with less than 100 inhabitants before the war, is located less than 10 kilometers from Časov Yar, the city towards which the Russian army was directed after taking over Bakhmut in the spring of 2023.

The statement of the Russian Ministry was published a day after the vote in the House of Representatives of the US Congress, when a package of military and economic aid of almost 61 billion dollars was approved for Ukraine.

Ukrainian forces are short of ammunition, and they have difficulty recruiting new volunteers, after more than two years of exhausting war. We will see in the coming months how US aid to Ukraine will have an impact on the further outcome of the war and the situation on the battlefield.