Ukraine PM Urges Missile Support in Tokyo Amid Delayed US Aid
Ukraine PM Urges Missile Support in Tokyo Amid Delayed US Aid

The Prime Minister of Ukraine, Denys Shmyhal, emphasized the urgent need for long-range missiles and other essential ammunition to combat Russia's invasion. Speaking at a news conference in Tokyo following a conference on Ukraine's reconstruction, Shmyhal expressed optimism regarding the pending U.S. aid package, despite its delay in Congress.

Shmyhal highlighted Ukraine's modern equipment and NATO-standard trained soldiers, acknowledging the support from European countries and the United States. However, he stressed the necessity for additional long-range missiles to bolster air defense against Russian forces along the frontline.

He lamented the current air superiority of Russian forces, which poses significant challenges for Ukraine. Despite this, Shmyhal affirmed the continuous support from international partners in supplying military equipment.

The delay in military support for Ukraine is attributed to concerns over escalating costs as the conflict enters its second year. While the United States has previously provided substantial aid amounting to $111 billion, including weaponry and humanitarian assistance, a new aid package worth $95 billion is currently stalled in Congress.

Shmyhal expressed hope that the deployment of F-16 fighter jets later this year would enhance Ukraine's position on the battlefield. However, he cautioned against any delays in receiving vital artillery and missile equipment, citing it as a significant threat to Ukraine's defense capabilities.

Despite the funding challenges, the U.S. National Guard continues its efforts to train Ukrainian pilots on the F-16 jets. Meanwhile, Japan aims to garner global support for Ukraine amidst ongoing conflicts elsewhere, focusing primarily on reconstruction aid due to constitutional constraints on providing lethal weapons.

During the Japan-Ukraine Conference for Promotion of Economic Growth and Reconstruction, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida reaffirmed Japan's commitment to Ukraine's long-term reconstruction efforts. The conference witnessed the participation of 300 individuals and 130 companies from both countries, resulting in over 50 agreements, including Japan's pledge of 15.8 billion yen ($105 million) in new aid for Ukraine.

Shmyhal expressed appreciation for Japan's understanding of its weapons export policy restrictions and welcomed its commitment to Ukraine's reconstruction. As his visit to Japan concluded, Shmyhal was scheduled to visit a Nissan Motor Co. factory near Tokyo before departing later in the day.

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