Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has once again requested long-range cruise missiles from the USA and other Western partners.
His country is not planning to use it to attack Moscow or other targets on Russian soil, "we simply want to save our country," Zelensky said on Tuesday in an interview with CNN on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York. In the interview, the 45-year-old spoke partly Ukrainian and partly English.
Zelensky tries to allay concerns
Ukraine has long wanted long-range cruise missiles of the ATACMS type from the USA to defend against the Russian war of aggression. These are guided missiles with a range of up to 300 kilometers from the US manufacturer Lockheed Martin that are fired from the ground against targets on the ground. Ukraine is requesting a similar weapon system from Germany, Taurus-type cruise missiles. They are suitable for destroying bunkers and protected command posts at a distance of up to 500 kilometers.
However, due to the long range of the weapon systems, there is concern that they could also be used to attack targets in Russia. Zelensky tried to dispel these concerns, like other Ukrainian government members before him. The weapon systems should only be used for defense, he emphasized.
“Don’t put partners under pressure”
When asked whether he would be disappointed if he left the United States without a commitment to the weapons system, Zelensky said it wouldn't really be a disappointment. But it would be a “loss” for the Ukrainian military not to have such weapon systems at its disposal. And there would be more casualties on the battlefield and elsewhere.
However, Zelensky emphasized: "We are not putting pressure on our partners." He did not come to the USA to demand more, but to say thank you for everything that the United States and others have already done. “You have supported us so much during this difficult time,” he said to the Americans.
The United States is considered Ukraine's most important ally in the fight against Russian invasion. Since the start of the war, the United States says it has provided more than $43 billion in military aid to Kiev alone - far more than any other country. After his visit to the UN General Assembly in New York, Zelensky wanted to travel to Washington for talks.