He really spoke the words out loud… Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said Saturday that the war in the Middle East between Israel and Hamas is “taking away the focus” from the Ukraine conflict.
He made the remarks in a press conference in Kiev while standing alongside EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen, at a moment headlines have turned negative on the prospect of ever being able to beat back the Russians. “Of course, it’s clear that the war in the Middle East, this conflict, is taking away the focus,” Zelensky said in the surprisingly blunt admission.
He began his remarks by commenting on the front line situation, which hasn’t changed significantly in many months. “Time has passed, people are tired… But this is not a stalemate,” he said.
“No one among our partners is pressuring us to sit down with Russia, talk to it, and give it something,” he added, after reports have in the last days emerged that Washington is exploring possible concessions to the Russians behind the scenes.
Zelensky claimed that it’s “Russia’s goal” to take global focus away from the Ukraine war. “We have already been in very difficult situations when there was almost no focus on Ukraine,” he said, before adding, “I am absolutely sure we will overcome this challenge.”
Now nearly one month after the horrific Hamas Oct.7 terror attack on southern Israel, the crisis in Gaza is completely dominating headlines. In recent weeks, news of Ukraine-Russia has actually slipped from the front page of major American newspapers.
In Saturday’s press conference he also tried to push back against the slew of recent pessimistic headlines, per Bloomberg:
President Volodymyr Zelenskiy pushed back on an NBC report that US and European officials have begun pressuring Kyiv toward possible peace negotiations with Moscow. “I do not know who is publishing this and for what,” Zelenskiy said
As we explained earlier, in the wake of Ukraine’s costly and futile counteroffensive, Washington’s proxy war with Russia is facing strong headwinds at home:
- The war between Hamas and Israel has diverted public attention and sapped the war state’s ability to propagandize voters. Indeed, Biden’s Oval Office address appealing for aid for Ukraine and Israel was originally planned to focus solely on Ukraine, NBC reports.
- The US public’s pro-Ukraine fervor has cooled: A new Gallup poll found 41% say the US is doing too much for Ukraine — a big leap from the 29% who said that in June. Many Americans think that money should be used to improve conditions at home.
- A growing number of congressional Republicans have put away their rubber stamp for Ukraine aid, and have thus far thwarted Biden’s request for $61 billion in additional funding for the war. Biden’s ploy of a joint funding request that combines controversial Ukraine aid with Israel aid is in grave jeopardy, as House Republicans demand separate votes.
This is what desperation looks like…..
(Von der Leyen visiting Zelensky) pic.twitter.com/U3VePYthgx
— Richard (@ricwe123) November 4, 2023
Washington’s blank-check support for Israel’s destruction of Gaza is further straining an already Ukraine-sapped American arsenal. Tens of thousands of artillery shells that had been earmarked for Ukraine are being redirected to the IDF.
Even before Hamas attacked Israel, an increasingly severe shortage of conventional shells for the artillery-heavy war in Ukraine led Biden to give Zelensky toxic, depleted uranium shells, stirring an international outcry.