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Zelensky urges House speaker for quick passage of aid  

Republican Speaker Mike Johnson has held up a bill for months that would supply $60 billion in military and financial aid for Ukraine…reports Asian Lite news

President Volodymyr Zelensky told the speaker of the US House of Representatives during a phone call on Thursday that it was vital that Congress passes a new military aid package for Kyiv rapidly.

Republican Speaker Mike Johnson has held up a bill for months that would supply $60 billion in military and financial aid for Ukraine.

“Quick passage of US aid to Ukraine by Congress is vital. We recognize that there are differing views in the House of Representatives on how to proceed, but the key is to keep the issue of aid to Ukraine as a unifying factor,” Zelensky said on X.

Ukrainian troops are on the back foot on the battlefield, facing shortages of artillery supplies with the US assistance held up in Congress and the European Union failing to deliver on time munitions that it had promised earlier.

In a statement, Zelensky said he briefed Johnson about the situation on the battlefield and also spoke about “the dramatic increase in Russia’s air terror.”

Last Friday, Russia conducted its largest air strike on Ukraine’s energy system since invading in February 2022, damaging power units at a major dam and causing blackouts for more than a million people.

Moscow has described its recent attacks as part of a series of “revenge” strikes in response to Ukrainian attacks on Russian regions. Russia has increased its use of harder-to-stop ballistic missiles. It denies targeting civilians, though many have been killed in its strikes.

‘NATO prepared for war with Russia’

Meanwhile, visiting chair of the NATO Military Committee, Robert Bauer, said the alliance is prepared for a possible war with Russia.

“Are we ready? The answer is yes! This is our main task to be ready. If it happens today, we will have to fight with available means,” Bauer was cited as saying on Friday.

In recent years, NATO has significantly strengthened its eastern flank, launching an Enhanced Forward Presence (EFP) operation in Baltic countries, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria, he said.

At present, NATO has eight battalion-size battlegroups, which can repel a possible Russian attack on the alliance’s eastern flank, he added.

On Thursday, Bauer made his first trip to Kiev since the start of the full-scale war between Russia and Ukraine in February 2022.

During his visit, Bauer met Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and participated in the 16th annual Kyiv Security Forum, according to local media reports.

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