President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has said Ukrainians will “do everything” in their power to prevail over invading Russian forces despite all difficulties as Britain urged the West to beef up its military assistance to help Ukraine “finish the job.”
“There is fatigue but we will do everything to win against the enemy, and our counteroffensive goes ahead, even if slowly we do everything to repel the enemy,” Zelenskiy told Italian news station SkyTg24 on October 4.
Zelenskiy also said Russia was weaker than at the start of the invasion in February 2022 and was trying to freeze the conflict.
He thanked Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni for Italy’s support for Ukraine and mentioned his “personal relationship and human relationship [with Meloni] based on shared values.”
Despite growing signs of war fatigue in the U.S. Congress and in some European Union countries, Zelenskiy said Kyiv felt support from Washington and that he hoped to discuss with EU leaders ways to improve Ukraine’s air defenses ahead of the cold season, when fresh Russian strikes are expected on the country’s energy infrastructure.
In Britain, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on October 4 urged Western allies to continue supplying Ukraine with weapons.
“I say this to our allies: If we give President Zelenskiy the tools, the Ukrainians will finish the job,” Sunak told the Conservative Party conference in northern England.
Earlier on October 4, air-raid alerts sounded across Ukraine’s south, east, and center on October 4 amid reports of explosions in the southern region of Dnipropetrovsk, as Moscow claimed that it had “destroyed” swarms of Ukrainian drones over three Russian areas.
There was little initial information about the blasts that were reported in Kryviy Rih. Alerts were declared early in the day in Odesa, Mykolayiv, and the Kherson regions, regional officials said.
Russia’s Defense Ministry said its air defenses shot down 31 Ukrainian drones overnight and prevented the landing in Crimea of a Ukrainian speedboat carrying a commando team.
“Air-defense systems intercepted and destroyed 31 Ukrainian aircraft-type unmanned aerial vehicles over the Belgorod, Bryansk, and Kursk regions,” the ministry said on Telegram on October 4.
“Russian aircraft prevented an attempt to penetrate the territory of Crimea by a Ukrainian landing group traveling in the direction of Cape Tarkhankut on a high-speed military boat and three jet skis,” it said.
The information could not be independently confirmed.
Russia, which has launched countless deadly drone and missile attacks on Ukrainian cities and energy infrastructure since the start of its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, has been in recent months subjected itself to increasingly frequent aerial and naval drone strikes targeting regions close to the border and even Moscow.
On the battlefield, Ukrainian forces have been engaged in heavy fighting with Russian troops in the east and south, the military said, amid a seesaw of offensive and defensive actions by both sides in the Donetsk, Kharkiv, and Zaporizhzhya regions.
Offensive operations were under way in the Melitopol area of Zaporizhzhya and Bakhmut in Donetsk, the General Staff reported early on October 4, adding that Ukrainian forces also repelled Russian counterattacks near Bakhmut.
“During the past 24 hours, 43 close-quarter battles took place along the front line,” it said.
Meanwhile, U.S. President Joe Biden spoke by phone with key allies to reassure them that the United States will stand fast on Ukraine after funding for U.S. aid to help Kyiv’s war effort was dropped from a stopgap spending measure passed by Congress over the weekend.
Poland’s President Andrzej Duda said Biden assured allies of continued U.S. support for Ukraine and of his strong conviction that Congress will not walk away. Biden explained the situation after Congress passed and he signed legislation that keeps the U.S. government funded through mid-November but that excluded billions of dollars to help Ukraine in its fight against Russia.
“He assured us that there is backing for the continuing support for Ukraine, first of all for the military support. He said that he will get that backing in the Congress,” Duda said at a news conference.
Duda said Biden called on allies to continue their support for Ukraine and that all the leaders assured him that they would.
“All of us…are determined to continue supporting Ukraine,” Duda said.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on X, the social media platform formerly called Twitter, that it was a “good call,” adding that “we are all committed to supporting #Ukraine for as long as it takes.”
Others joining Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken on the call were the leaders of Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan, Romania, Britain, the European Commission, and the European Council. France’s foreign minister also participated, the White House said.
While Biden told the leaders he is “confident” that Congress will agree to fund new assistance for Ukraine, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby warned that U.S. aid will only last “perhaps a couple of months or so,” adding that it is vital to help Kyiv’s slow-moving counteroffensive before winter sets in.
“Time is not our friend,” Kirby told reporters. “We have enough funding authorities to meet Ukraine’s battlefields needs for a bit longer, but we need Congress to act.”