Accessibility links

Breaking News

Zelenskyy urges Trump to visit Ukraine


FILE - AK-47 assault rifles sit on the deck of the guided-missile destroyer USS The Sullivans, Jan. 7, 2023. The U.S. Navy has seized the rifles and other weapons from ships from Iran that were bound for Yemen's Houthi rebels. (U.S. Navy photo via AP)
FILE - AK-47 assault rifles sit on the deck of the guided-missile destroyer USS The Sullivans, Jan. 7, 2023. The U.S. Navy has seized the rifles and other weapons from ships from Iran that were bound for Yemen's Houthi rebels. (U.S. Navy photo via AP)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Tuesday he has urged Donald Trump, the presumptive U.S. Republican presidential candidate, to visit Ukraine.

The president said in an interview with Axel Springer media outlets that he wants to hear Trump’s proposals for ending the war between Ukraine and Russian. However,
Zelenskyy said he is not interested in a Trump idea that the war would be over if only Ukraine would forfeit large amounts of land.

“If the deal is that we just give up our territories ... then, it’s a very primitive idea,” Zelenskyy said. “I need a real idea because people’s lives are at stake.”

The U.S. military said Tuesday it has handed Ukraine an array of small arms and ammunition it seized from Iranian forces as they tried to deliver them to Tehran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Blinken, Cameron implore Republican lawmakers to unblock aid to Ukraine
please wait

No media source currently available

0:00 0:02:51 0:00

The cache included more than 5,000 AK-47 assault weapons, rocket-propelled grenades, machine guns, sniper rifles and more than 500,000 rounds of ammunition that the U.S. seized from four vessels between May 2021 and February 2023, the U.S. Central Command said.

"These weapons will help Ukraine defend against Russia's invasion" and are enough material to equip a brigade, the U.S. said.

Even so, Ukraine is facing a shortage of weaponry, partly because a right-wing contingent of Republican lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives opposed to more Ukraine aid has so far successfully blocked consideration of $60 billion in new U.S. arms assistance. House Speaker Mike Johnson has said he will put the measure up for a vote later this week.

Zelenskyy has said Kyiv’s forces will lose its two-year war to Russia without the additional U.S. armaments.

Seizure of arms

Houthi rebels in Yemen have been targeting commercial vessels in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden en route to and returning from Israel since November, attacks they say are in solidarity with Hamas militants in their six-month war with Israel.

"Iran's support for armed groups threatens international and regional security, our forces, diplomatic personnel and citizens in the region, as well as those of our partners,” the U.S. military said. “We will continue to do whatever we can to shed light on and stop Iran's destabilizing activities."

Washington made a similar transfer of seized arms to Ukraine in early October, providing 1.1 million rounds of 7.62 mm ammunition that also was taken from Iranian forces on the way to Yemen.

The United States announced a $300 million assistance package for Kyiv in mid-March — the first since December — that included anti-aircraft and anti-tank weapons and artillery shells, but warned at the time that it would run out after a few weeks.

The Pentagon funded that package by using money saved on other purchases.

UK’s Cameron on the Hill

Meanwhile, British Foreign Secretary David Cameron met Tuesday with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Washington as part of a trip to push U.S. officials to support more aid for Ukraine.

Cameron met with congressional leaders but was unable to meet with Speaker Johnson due to a scheduling conflict.

President Joe Biden has repeatedly urged Johnson and other Republican opponents to back the Ukraine security bill. Some House Republicans have said the focus should instead be on domestic priorities, such as securing the U.S.-Mexico border from the surge of migrants crossing into the U.S.

"Success for Ukraine and failure for [Russian President Vladimir] Putin are vital for American and European security," Cameron said in a statement. "The alternative would only encourage Putin in further attempts to redraw European borders by force and would be heard clearly in Beijing, Tehran and North Korea.”

Ukrainian officials have asked allies to provide more military help, particularly with systems to defend Ukrainian skies from Russia’s daily drone and missile attacks.

Meanwhile, the United Nations nuclear watchdog is planning to hold an emergency meeting Thursday, requested by Ukraine and Russia to discuss the recent drone attacks on the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant. The two countries blame each other for the attacks.

Ukraine’s air force reported Tuesday that overnight, Russia targeted it with four guided missiles and 20 drones.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters, The Associated Press and Agence France-Presse.

  • 16x9 Image

    VOA News

    The Voice of America provides news and information in more than 40 languages to an estimated weekly audience of over 326 million people. Stories with the VOA News byline are the work of multiple VOA journalists and may contain information from wire service reports.