Volodymyr Zelensky said deliveries of key artillery shells to Ukraine from its Western allies have “really slowed down” since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war.
The Ukrainian president said he would “defend what is ours” after the decline in supply of 155mm artillery shells, which are also used by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) against Hamas.
Despite assurances from Joe Biden, the US president, that American support for Israel would not impact aid for Ukraine, deliveries of supplies earmarked for Mr Zelensky’s forces have reportedly been redirected to Tel Aviv in recent weeks.
Mr Biden’s administration is operating on a constrained budget for assistance for both countries because of opposition from Republicans in the House of Representatives, who declined to put a $105 billion (£84.5 billion) aid package to a vote this week.
“Our deliveries have decreased,” Mr Zelensky said, referring specifically to the 155mm shells that are widely used on the eastern and southern front lines in Ukraine.
“They really slowed down,” he added. “[But] It’s not like the US said: we don’t give Ukraine any. No! It’s just that everyone is fighting for [stockpiles] themselves.
“This is life. I’m not saying that this is positive, but this is life, and we have to defend what’s ours.”
His remarks come amid concern among US officials that the limited Pentagon aid budget will make Ukraine vulnerable to Russian air assaults this winter.
Jake Sullivan, Mr Biden’s national security adviser, admitted this week that the US’s ability to protect Ukraine gets “harder and harder” with “each week that passes”.
Another administration official said the aid to Ukraine would effectively be rationed in the coming months to ensure it can last until a funding agreement is reached with Congress.
The White House had intended to pass a single budget resolution on Ukraine to last until after the presidential election next November, in a “one-and-done” plan.
Mr Biden’s supplemental request contained $48.8 billion in Ukraine funding, plus $14.3 billion for Israel.
Weapons stockpiles depleting
The US has depleted its weapons stockpiles in recent months to send hardware to both countries.
Ukraine has received a range of missiles and battery air defences, while Israel has received stock to replenish the ammunition of its Iron Dome missile defence system.
Supplies of 155mm artillery ammunition are one of the few items that have been sent to both countries.
Kyiv’s other allies in the West are also struggling to maintain supply levels as the war in Ukraine drags on.
Germany said this week that the European Union will not hit a one-year target of sending a million artillery shells to Ukraine by March.
Josep Borrell, the EU’s top diplomat, said on Nov 6 that the war in Israel would make it more difficult for the bloc to provide support to Ukraine.
“Let’s be frank: the crisis in the Middle East is already having a lasting impact on our policy in Ukraine,” he said.