Zelensky pleads for more time as support for Ukraine aid slips

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Zelensky pleads for more time as support for Ukraine aid slips

ZELENSKY: ONE MORE YEAR: You could see the urgency in his face and hear it in his voice, even when it came through a translator. In an interview on NBC’s Meet the Press, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made a desperate plea for the United States not to cut military aid before Ukraine can develop the capacity to make or buy more of its own weapons and ammunition.

“It’s almost two years. Now, initiative [is] in our hands. Yes, a lot of people, of course, in the world are tired. Of course, it’s understandable … They want to come back home to their husbands, to their soldiers, to these guys, women and children.”

“If the war will not finish next year, I think that using this platform of cooperation and co-production and using these new jobs, I think we will manage to minimize this gap, and you will not help us at such [a] high price,” Zelensky said. “I think your help is very important for the next year, and that is crucial. And I think, if we will manage all that I said, the gap will be minimized in our budget.”

“We understand that we need much more to win now, but we also need to build our future force because even after we win, Russia is not going to disappear somewhere,” Oksana Markarova, Ukraine’s ambassador to the U.S., said on CBS’s Face The Nation. “We are ready to rent or lease or use any other equipment, including the American equipment. It’s not only from the U.S. We are ready to co-produce together.”

But with the war raging along an 800-mile front, now is not the time to pull back, Markarova argued. “We do need ammunition. We do need air defense,” she said. “Right now, all the eyes are on U.S. Congress because we need the continuation of that. We already run out of some of the programs. We completely utilized them.”

‘I DON’T THINK THIS IS A STALEMATE’: Zelensky took issue with the characterization offered by his top wartime general, Gen. Valery Zaluzhny, who, in an interview with the Economist, said the war had basically developed into a stalemate, with neither side having the decisive force to advance.

“Today, indeed, the situation is difficult,” Zelensky said, “I don’t think that this is a stalemate. It’s a check on the Russian army.” Zelensky argued the fact that Russian forces can’t advance and are taking horrific casualties shows Ukraine still has the upper hand.

“They are attacking us in the east of our country while losing thousands of people and hundreds of pieces of weaponry,” he said. “We don’t see it. But in the Avdiivka direction in the last week, 200 pieces of [Russian] weaponry, of ammunition, were lost. Thousands of [Russian] people have been lost. They have been killed.”

“We have great success in the Black Sea, even after Russia blocked the Black Sea,” Zelensky said. ”They blocked the Black Sea. Now we really defeated it … [the] Russian fleet, been destroyed by our ammunition. And now Russia doesn’t control the fleet … That was a signal that we can manage this war even against such a terrorist organization like Kremlin.”

“Sometimes our attitude to the war, that somebody’s staying in one place, but it’s not just stay. When you stay, you kill the enemy, and this is the fact,” he said. “Our military is coming up with different plans, with different operations, in order to move forward faster and to strike the Russian Federation unexpectedly. But, barehanded, it’s impossible to do without weapons, without relevant, proper weapons, and it’s a fact.”

NOT TIME FOR NEGOTIATIONS: NBC News reported over the weekend that U.S. and European officials have begun broaching the subject of possible peace negotiations with Russia to end the war, but Zelensky dismissed the idea out of hand.

“I don’t have any relations with Russians. And they know my position. That is the position of my country; that is the position of our people. We don’t want to make any dialogue with terrorists,” he said. “I am not ready to speak with the terrorists because their word is nothing, nothing. We can’t trust terrorists because terrorists always come back.”

Zelensky said Russian President Vladimir Putin is delighted that the attention of the world has been diverted by Israel’s campaign against Hamas. “Russia is very happy with this war,” he said. “They don’t count how many children were killed there … they just want to divide the world, to take focus from Ukraine to another war.”

As for former President Donald Trump’s claim that he could end the war in 24 hours, Zelensky said he hasn’t talked to Trump since he left office but would like to invite him to Kyiv. “I will need 24 minutes — yes, 24 minutes, not more. Yes, not more, 24 minutes to explain to President Trump that he can’t manage this war; he can’t bring peace because of Putin.”

And Zelensky ended his interview by dropping the f-bomb. “But we are not ready to give our freedom to this f***ing terrorist Putin. That’s it. That’s why we are fighting. That’s it.”


Good Monday morning and welcome to Jamie McIntyre’s Daily on Defense, written and compiled by Washington Examiner National Security Senior Writer Jamie McIntyre (@jamiejmcintyre) and edited by Conrad Hoyt. Email here with tips, suggestions, calendar items, and anything else. Sign up or read current and back issues at DailyonDefense.com. If signing up doesn’t work, shoot us an email and we’ll add you to our list. And be sure to follow me on Threads and/or on X @jamiejmcintyre


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HAPPENING TODAY: Secretary of State Antony Blinken wrapped up his weekend of shuttle diplomacy in Ankara, Turkey, today, where he met with Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan, the last stop on his travels in an attempt to gain support for “humanitarian pauses” to get aid to Palestinian civilians in Gaza and facilitate safe passage out of the northern combat zone.

“Israel has raised important questions about how humanitarian pauses would work. We’ve got to answer those questions. We’re working on exactly that,” Blinken said during a surprise stop in Baghdad, Iraq. “It’s important that a pause advance a number of things. One of them is hostages. We are intensely focused — the United States, Israel, every other country that has one of its citizens being held hostage by Hamas — to bring them home.”

Blinken’s whirlwind weekend took him from Israel to Jordan, the occupied West Bank, Cyprus, and Iraq before wrapping up in Turkey. “I think everyone would welcome humanitarian pauses,” he said. “We’ve had important progress there in recent days; there are also real complications that come along with it. We continue to work through them. But in each of these areas, a humanitarian pause or pauses could make a positive difference.”


CIVILIAN DEATH TOLL MOUNTS: With Israeli forces now encircling Gaza City in the north, the war is entering a phase of deadly urban combat. As the war reaches the one-month mark, the Hamas-controlled Gaza Health Ministry claims more than 9,700 Palestinians have been killed, with about one-third being children. The Israeli death toll is over 1,400, mostly civilians murdered in the brutal attack by Hamas terrorists on Oct. 7.

“Most of our campaign right now is carried out by ground forces. It’s not an air campaign. That was the first phase,” said Michael Herzog, “Israeli Ambassador to the U.S., on CBS. “Let me explain what we’re up against. Gaza is probably the biggest terror complex in the world. You have tens of thousands of armed terrorists, tens of thousands of rockets. We estimate over 500 kilometers of tunnels, terror tunnels, with rockets, all their leadership, command-and-control structure. This is what we’re up against. And we have to uproot it because, if we do not, they will strike again and again.”

Israel insists it is doing everything it can to limit civilian casualties and that Hamas’s use of human shields is the cause of most of the deaths.

“We are not fighting against a civilian population. They are not our enemy. Hamas is. And the sad reality and the reason behind all of this really sad footage that we see coming out of Gaza, it’s not Israeli activity. It’s the fact that Hamas systemically hides behind those civilians,” IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said on CNN.

“There’s an ongoing operation to try to evacuate Palestinian civilians from northern Gaza. More than 800,000 have already made the smart decision to do so,” Conricus said. “We don’t want them in the battlefield, and we don’t want them in harm’s way. We want Hamas to stand up and fight, and we are going to take the battle to Hamas, and we really hope that the civilian population won’t continue to be held by Hamas as human shields.”

ATTACK ON AMBULANCES: Israel has confirmed it conducted a Friday airstrike on an ambulance that the health ministry claimed was being used to evacuate wounded civilians, killing 15 people and injuring 60 others.

“We did identify a terrorist threat inside those ambulances,” said IDF spokesman Maj. Doron Spielman. “We know, and this is not a new thing. Since 2014, Hamas has been taking ambulances and hiding their terrorists inside of them, making the most cynical use of important medical assets for their own terror use. It is extremely difficult to fight against.”

“And that’s what they use as their Uber. It’s just ambulances to go around Gaza. And if you identify an active threat, we, of course, will eliminate a threat that’s an imminent threat.”

PUTTING IRAN ON NOTICE: Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) are introducing a bipartisan sense of the Senate resolution warning Iran it risks war with the U.S. if it continues to stoke the tensions in the region.

“It basically says, if the war expands, if Hezbollah opens up a second front in the north against Israel in a substantial way to overwhelm Iron Dome, then we should hit the Islamic Republic of Iran,” said Graham on CNN. “There is no Hamas without the ayatollah’s support. There is no Hezbollah without the ayatollah’s support. The great Satan in the region is not Israel or the United States. It’s Iran.”

“The resolution puts Iran on notice that all this military force in the region will be coming after you if you expand this war by activating Hezbollah or killing an American through your proxies in Syria and Iraq. And they need to hear that. They need to believe that,” Graham said.

“It’s aggressive, but it’s absolutely necessary,” said Blumenthal. “The key word here is deterrence. The purpose of the resolution is to deter Iran by showing we’re going to be behind the president as he seeks to stop the war from widening or escalating.”


AMERICANS FINALLY OUT: After being trapped for weeks in Gaza, most of the Americans who wanted to leave Gaza have been able to get out through the southern border with Egypt.

“We believe that there are still a number of Americans inside Gaza, but that, over the last several days, through pretty intensive negotiations with all sides relevant to this conflict, we have been able to get out more than 300 Americans, lawful permanent residents and their family members,” White House principal deputy national security adviser Jon Finer said on CBS. “This is obviously a major priority and one that we’re going to continue to work out until every American who wants to leave is able to do so.”

Negotiations to free American hostages held by Hamas are “going on quietly behind the scenes,” Finer said. “They have taken longer than any of us would like. But we continue to believe that there is the possibility of getting a significant number of these hostages released.”


The Rundown

Washington Examiner: Israel to ‘decrease’ military campaign as US seeks ‘very significant pause’ in war

Washington Examiner: Blinken meets with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas

Washington Examiner: Blinken seeks hostage release as Netanyahu and Hamas jockey for Israel-Gaza ceasefire leverage

Washington Examiner: Hezbollah tells Hamas to be ‘realistic’: Terrorist allies don’t want to expand Israel war

Washington Examiner: Israel war: Pentagon says US conducting unarmed drone flights over Gaza in search for hostages

Washington Examiner: Bernie Sanders doesn’t back permanent ceasefire between Hamas and Israel

Washington Examiner: House Republican proposes bill to expel Palestinians from the US

Washington Examiner: Israeli leaders condemn one of their own who said using nuclear weapon in Gaza was an option

Washington Examiner: Johnson makes slow progress to avoid government shutdown in first full week as speaker

Washington Examiner: Johnson says GOP ‘committed’ to all appropriations bills

Washington Examiner: Senate Democrats express worry as House continues with partisan appropriations bills

Washington Examiner: Steve Scalise defends cuts to IRS in House GOP’s Israel aid bill

Washington Examiner: Lindsey Graham says US is living on ‘borrowed time’ regarding ‘broken’ border

Washington Examiner: Opinion: The Debrief with Hugo Gurdon: The problems with an Israeli ceasefire

AP: US And Arab Partners Disagree On The Need For A Cease-Fire As Israeli Airstrikes Kill More Civilians

New York Times: US Officials Outline Steps To Israel To Reduce Civilian Casualties

Reuters: Pro-Palestinian Crowds Try to Storm Air Base Housing US Troops in Turkey

Reuters: Hezbollah Says Israel To ‘Pay Price’ After Strike Kills 3 Children In Lebanon

Haaretz: ‘We Barely See the Terrorists. They’re Underground’: On the Ground in Gaza With Israeli Soldiers

Task & Purpose: US Sends a Warning With 2 Aircraft Carriers in the Mediterranean at the Same Time

Defense News: German Air Chief Urges Haste in Fielding Strike, Utility Drones

DefenseScoop: Ukraine to Get More Laser-Guided Munitions to Kill Drones

AP: A Ukrainian Missile Strike On A Shipyard In Crimea Damages A Russian Ship

Politico: Republicans, Fed Up With Tuberville, Plot Ways to Bust His Military Blockade

Air & Space Forces Magazine: ICBM Test Failure Puts Nuclear Modernization Effort Into Focus

Moscow Times: Russia Test Fires Nuclear-Capable Ballistic Missile

Reuters: US Airs Concerns To China About ‘Dangerous And Unlawful’ South China Sea Actions

The War Zone: Secret Skunk Works Spy Drone Delivered to Air Force: Report

Air & Space Forces Magazine: US MQ-9s Flying Over Gaza Amid Israel-Hamas War

Air & Space Forces Magazine: How the Air Force Builds Special Reconnaissance Commandos



9 a.m. 1030 15th St. NW — Atlantic Council discussion: “Investigating China’s Economic Coercion: The Reach and Role of Chinese Corporate Entities,” with William Piekos, nonresident fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Global China Hub; David Shullman, senior director of the Atlantic Council’s Global China Hub; and Sarah Bauerle Danzman, resident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s GeoEconomics Center https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/event/investigating-chinas-economic-coercion

8:30 a.m. EST Prague, Czech Republic — Atlantic Council virtual discussion: “A View from Prague on Securing Ukraine’s European Future,” with Martin Dvorak, minister for European affairs of the Czech Republic https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/programs/europe-center

10 a.m. 1616 Rhode Island Ave. NW — Center for Strategic and International Studies and the Korea University Peace and Democracy Institute 2023 Korea Global Forum https://www.csis.org/events/korea-global-forum-2023

11 a.m. — Washington Institute for Near East Policy virtual forum: “The Hamas-Israel War One Month On,” with Dennis Ross, WINEP counselor; Zohar Palti, WINEP fellow; Hanin Ghaddar, WINEP senior fellow; and Ghaith al-Omari, WINEP senior fellow https://washingtoninstitute-org.zoom.us/webinar/register

1:15 p.m. — Center for Strategic and International Studies virtual discussion: “What’s Next for U.S.-China Relations? The View from Congress,” with Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) https://www.csis.org/events/whats-next-us-china-relations-view-congress

2:45 p.m. 1030 15th St. NW — Atlantic Council discussion: “Integrating 5G Technology for a More Networked Force,” with Thomas Rondeau, principal director for FutureG and 5G in the Office of the Defense Undersecretary for Research and Engineering; Whitney McNamara, associate vice president of Beacon Global Strategies; and Dan Rice, vice president of 5G military programs at Lockheed Martin Corporation https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/event/integrating-5g-technology

3 p.m. — Brookings Institution and the Stanford Center for International Security and Cooperation virtual discussion: “Assessing U.S.-China Interaction at APEC,” with former Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl, senior fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies; Patricia Kim, fellow at the Brookings Center for East Asia Policy Studies; Oriana Skylar Mastro, fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies; former Minister of Trade of Indonesia Gita Wirjawan, visiting scholar at the Stanford University’s Asia-Pacific Research Center; and Ryan Hass, director of the Brookings China Center https://cisac.fsi.stanford.edu/events/assessing-us-china-interaction


9 a.m. 1616 Rhode Island Ave. NW — Center for Strategic and International Studies launch of the 2023 “Project Atom Report,” focusing on nuclear credibility and flexibility https://www.csis.org/events/project-atom-report-launch

10 a.m. 1957 E St. NW — George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs discussion: “NATO’s Strategic Challenges,” with Supreme Allied Commander Transformation Gen. Phillippe Lavigne https://calendar.gwu.edu/event/natos_strategic_challenges

10 a.m. — Center for a New American Security virtual discussion: “Military professionalism, challenges to recruitment, service member retention, and policy options for a resilient future force,” with Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks; and Katherine Kuzminski, deputy director of studies and director of the CNAS Military, Veterans, and Society Program https://www.cnas.org/events/fireside-chat-with-hon-kathleen-hicks

11 a.m. — Center for Strategic and International Studies conference call briefing: “Previewing 2023 APEC Leaders’ Meeting,” with Victor Cha, CSIS Korea chairman; Bonny Lin, director of the CSIS China Power Project; Jude Blanchette, CSIS chairman in China studies; Erin Murphy, senior fellow at the CSIS Asia Program; Charles Edel, CSIS Australia chairman; and Nicholas Szechenyi, CSIS Japan chairman. RSVP: Andrew Schwartz [email protected]

11:30 a.m. — Carnegie Endowment for International Peace virtual discussion: “Is America Overstretched?” with former CIA Director David Petraeus, co-author of Conflict: The Evolution of Warfare from 1945 to Ukraine https://carnegieendowment.org/2023/11/07/is-america-overstretched

12 p.m. — Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft virtual discussion: “After the Ukrainian Counter-Offensive,” with Daniel Davis, senior fellow and military expert at Defense Priorities; Rajan Menon, director of the Defense Priorities’s Grand Strategy program; Margarita Konaev, deputy director of analysis at Georgetown University’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology; and Anatol Lieven, director of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft’s Eurasia Program https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register

12:30 p.m. 2799 Richmond Highway, Arlington, Virginia — Naval Submarine League 2023 Annual Symposium: “Promoting the Importance of Submarines to the National Defense,” with Adm. Frank Caldwell, director of Naval Reactors; Vice Adm. Bill Houston, commander of Submarine Force; and Rear Adm. Scott Pappano, program executive officer of Strategic Submarines https://www.navalsubleague.org/events/annual-symposium/

1 p.m. — Washington Post Live virtual book discussion: Conflict: The Evolution of Warfare from 1945 to Ukraine, including a look at the war between Israel and Hamas and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with co-author and former CIA Director retired Gen. David Petraeus https://www.washingtonpost.com/washington-post-live

1:30 p.m. — Center for Strategic and International Studies virtual discussion: “Hamas’ October 7 Attack: The Tactics, Targets, and Strategy of Terrorists,” with former U.S. National Counterterrorism Center Director Michael Leiter; Emily Harding, director of the CSIS Intelligence, National Security, and Technology Program; and Daniel Byman, senior fellow at the CSIS Transnational Threats Project https://www.csis.org/events/hamas-october-7-attack-tactics

7 p.m. — New America virtual discussion: “Will Putin be Prosecuted for War Crimes?: The Future of Investigations into International Law Violations in Ukraine,” with former U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues David Scheffer, professor of practice at Arizona State University’s Future Security Initiative https://www.newamerica.org/future-security/events/online

7:30 p.m. 7920 Jones Branch Drive, McLean, Virginia — Intelligence and National Security Alliance discussion: “DOD’s strategic outlook for digital modernization and cybersecurity,” with Defense Department CIO John Sherman https://www.insaonline.org/detail-pages/event


TBA — Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin departs for travel to India to attend the fifth Annual U.S.-India 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue, along with Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Austin will also travel to South Korea and Indonesia for meetings with regional counterparts https://www.defense.gov/News/Advisories/Advisory

7:55 a.m. 2799 Richmond Highway, Arlington, Virginia — Naval Submarine League 2023 Annual Symposium: “Promoting the Importance of Submarines to the National Defense,” with Rear Adm. Richard Seif, commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet Submarine Force; and Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) https://www.navalsubleague.org/events/annual-symposium/

8 a.m. 1030 15th St. NW — Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security and the Atlantic Council’s Forward Defense Program Symposium: “The Evolving Role of Special Operations Forces in Strategic Competition.” RSVP: [email protected]

9 a.m. — Wilson Center’s Asia Program virtual discussion: “A Half Decade of Indo-Pacific Strategies: Assessing U.S. Outreach to Allies and Partners,” with former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and the Pacific Scot Marciel, fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies; Ashley Tellis, chairman for strategic affairs at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; Shihoko Goto, acting director of the Wilson Center’s Asia Program; and Lucas Myers, senior associate for Southeast Asia at the Wilson Center’s Asia Program https://www.wilsoncenter.org/event/half-decade-indo-pacific-strategies

10 a.m. 419 Dirksen — Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing: “U.S. National Security Interests in Ukraine,” with testimony from James O’Brien, assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs; Geoffrey Pyatt, assistant secretary of state for energy resources; and Erin McKee, assistant administrator for Europe and Eurasia at the U.S. Agency for International Development https://www.foreign.senate.gov/hearings

10 a.m — Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies “Schriever Spacepower Series,” with Lisa Costa, chief technology and innovation officer; and retired Air Force Gen. Kevin Chilton, explorer chairman, Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies Spacepower Advantage Center of Excellence https://mitchellaerospacepower.org/event

11 a.m. 1300 Pennsylvania Ave. NW — Wilson Center’s Asia Program discussion: “Navigating U.S.-China Competition: Options for Pakistan,” with Baqir Sajjad, diplomatic and national security correspondent at Dawn; and Michael Kugelman, director of the Wilson Center’s South Asia Institute https://www.wilsoncenter.org/event/navigating-us-china-competition

11:30 a.m. EST Brussels, Belgium — NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and Hungarian President Katalin Novak hold a joint press conference at NATO headquarters https://www.nato.int

2 p.m. HVC-210 — House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing: “Friend and Ally: U.S. support for Israel after Hamas’ Barbaric Attack,” with testimony from Barbara Leaf, assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, and Dana Stroul, deputy assistant secretary of defense for the Middle East https://armedservices.house.gov/hearings

2 p.m. — Defense One and Forecast International virtual discussion: “Toward a Connected Battlespace,” with Maj. Gen. Gavin Lawrence, commanding general of the Army’s Surface Deployment and Distribution Command; Rett Burroughs, chief information officer at America’s First Corps, G6; Ari Dimitriou, senior technical fellow at Collins Aerospace; David Morrison, director of Combined Joint All Domain Command and Control (CJADC2) initiatives at Collins Aerospace; and Andrew Dardine, senior defense analyst at Forecast International https://events.defenseone.com/defense-one-toward-a-connected-battlespace

3 p.m. 1616 Rhode Island Ave NW — Association of the U.S. Army and Center for Strategic and International Studies “Strategic Landpower Dialogue,” with Gen. James Dickinson, commanding general of U.S. Space Command https://www.csis.org/events/strategic-landpower-dialogue

QUOTE OF THE DAY “I have a lot of power, but even feeling strong and having a lot of energy, it doesn’t mean that we want to fight all our life, because the price is high, like I said, because the war takes the best of us, the best heroes, the best men, women, children. That’s it. But we are not ready to give our freedom to this f***ing terrorist Putin. That’s it. That’s why we are fighting. That’s it.” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, on NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday.

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