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Ukrainian ambassador asks for ‘everything possible’ to speed up delivery of air defense systems

Ukraine’s Ambassador to the United States Oksana Markarova, speaks at the National Press Club in Washington, Tuesday, March 15, 2022. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Ukrainian Ambassador to the U.S. Oksana Markarova on Sunday called for increasing the speed of weapon deliveries to her country after it faced a barrage of strikes from Russia in recent days, emphasizing the need for air defense systems in particular.

“Unfortunately, this system [is] difficult to produce, and they’re not ready on the shelves waiting,” Markarova told moderator Margaret Brennan on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

“But we’re doing everything possible and asking our partners to do everything possible to speed up not only the delivery, but also the ordering of the system,” Markarova said.

Russia has launched dozens of rockets in recent days that landed in cities across Ukraine, including the capital of Kyiv and other locations far from the war’s front lines, marking the latest escalation after Russia faced steep territorial losses from a Ukrainian counteroffensive.

Ukraine has accused Russia of deliberately targeting civilians in those strikes, pointing to one that landed in a playground, stepping up pressure for the U.S. and its allies to provide advanced air defense systems.

“We do need to start to secure as many places in Ukraine as possible, as many children in Ukraine as possible, from Russian rockets,” Markarova told Brennan.

The U.S. has pledged to send eight National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASMS) to Ukraine. 

Sabrina Singh, the Pentagon’s deputy press secretary, said on Friday that the U.S. was expediting the contract, hoping to deliver two “in the near future” while describing the other six as “longer term initiatives.”

Markarova on CBS also characterized Russian President Vladimir Putin’s partial mobilization of the country’s military as a “failure.”

Putin, who called up to 300,000 reservists to bolster the country’s invasion, said the strikes will no longer be needed given the influx of Russian troops into Ukraine.

“We should be prepared for everything, and it’s actually irrelevant at this point what he says, because this partial mobilization has been a big failure,” Markarova told Brennan of Putin’s assertion. 

“People in Russia do not want to be mobilized,” Markarova continued. “They’re not equipped. They’re not prepared. They’re not motivated. Yes, there are a lot of them. But it has been a failure in Russia.”

Tags air defense systems Margaret Brennan Oksana Markarova Oksana Markarova Russia-Ukraine war ukraine Vladimir Putin
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