Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky delivered his annual state-of-the-nation speech yesterday, where he called for his country to raise up to 500,000 more men for the armed forces to fight against Russia.
“First of all, this is a fair question of our commanders-in-chief, the General Staff. They addressed the issue of mobilization. I think the issue is very sensitive, but they asked about the protection of our state and potential counteroffensive actions, about the deficit. And they offered to mobilize an additional 450,000-500,000 people,” said Zelensky.
“Where will we get the money for this?” Zelensky admitted that the only answer was Western support, which is currently dwindling, and that weapons and ammunition are in short supply. Both the EU and the U.S. are working on substantial aid packages, but both have been blocked in recent weeks, he said.
Zelensky thanked Ukrainian soldiers fighting on the frontline, with well over 100,000 reportedly losing their lives in the conflict.
According to the president, there is no chance that Ukraine will lose the war, and he also mentioned that peace negotiations with Russia are “not feasible at the moment.”
Zelensky wants to speak to Orbán
For security reasons, the exact time and venue where Zelensky spoke were only shared with accredited journalists. In his speech, he spoke mostly about the war in Ukraine, but also briefly about his relationship with Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.
“We are trying to find solutions and answers to certain questions, but we need to organize a meeting. I think we can find a diplomatic solution and we will work on that,” Hungarian news agency MTI quoted Zelensky, whose team is trying to organize a meeting with the Hungarian prime minister.
Answering a journalist’s question, he said that he had never discussed a ceasefire with Russia with Orbán. He added that Hungary’s policy is not always kind to Ukraine. “I had a lot of questions for him. But anyway, we are neighbors, even with these challenges,” he said.
The Ukrainian president said he had asked Viktor Orbán why Hungary did not support Ukraine’s EU membership and why they had not yet met, but the Hungarian prime minister, according to Zelensky, did not answer these questions.