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Ukraine: Will Find a Way to Win        07/18 06:08

   

   ASPEN, Colorado (AP) -- Ukraine will find a way to deal with whatever comes 
if former President Donald Trump wins a second term, throwing into doubt vital 
U.S. support for its defense against Russia's invading forces, Ukraine's 
defense minister said Wednesday.

   In carefully framed comments to an audience of U.S. policymakers and 
journalists, Defense Minister Rustem Umerov reflected the diplomatic and 
military difficulty facing Ukraine as Trump and running mate JD Vance gain 
momentum in the U.S. presidential race.

   Vance, an Ohio senator, has battled in Congress to block U.S. military and 
financial aid to Ukraine as it fights Russian forces and cross-border attacks, 
while Trump has said he will bring the war to an immediate end if he wins in 
November.

   Trump, a Republican, has not said how he would do that. Analysts say that 
could include withdrawal of U.S. aid to Ukraine unless it agrees to a 
cease-fire on Russian terms, including surrendering Ukrainian territory to 
Russia.

   "We believe in U.S. leadership, and we believe America wants its partners 
and allies to be strong as well," Umerov said, speaking remotely to an audience 
of government officials and others at the annual Aspen Security Forum in 
Colorado.

   "At this stage, we will focus on the battlefield," Umerov said.

   "Whatever the outcome" of the U.S. elections, "we will find solutions," he 
said.

   Umerov, much like Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy at the NATO summit 
in Washington last week, stopped short of saying whether Ukraine would attempt 
to keep fighting or would agree to a cease-fire deal that ceded territory to 
Russia if the U.S. were to withdraw its support.

   While other members of the military alliance of European and North American 
countries also help provide arms, money and other aid to Ukraine, U.S. support 
has been the most invaluable since Russia launched its war in early 2022.

   For now, Umerov insisted that Ukraine -- which has broadened its 
mobilization efforts to bring in more troops than the 4 million Umerov said 
were now registered -- would keep fighting to regain territory already lost to 
the Russians.

   It was "within our goals" to take back the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, 
seized by Russians early in their offensive, he said.

   The defense minister also pushed back against President Joe Biden on one 
point, although not by name. While Biden has been the most important single 
backer of Ukraine's defense, he has resisted growing pressure to roll back 
tough restrictions placed on Ukraine's use of U.S. weapons against military 
targets in Russia. Biden suggested at the NATO summit that Ukraine might use 
the weapons to hit Moscow.

   Umerov said Ukraine couldn't stop Russian strikes on its cities and 
infrastructure unless it could hit the airbases and other military sites in 
Russia from which the strikes come.

   "We want to say it loudly: We are focusing on military targets, so that they 
are not able to hit the civilians" in Ukraine, he said.

 
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