'Attention equals help': Zelenskyy says Israel-Hamas war threatens to overshadow Ukraine conflict

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says the war with Russia is entering a new stage. Credit: AP/Srdjan Nedeljkovic and Felipe Dana

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said the war between Israel and Hamas threatens to overshadow the conflict in Ukraine amid concern that Western aid to the country could cease.

More than 21 months after Russia's full-scale invasion, Ukraine is struggling to keep up with its defences on the frontline, Zelenskyy told the Associated Press (AP) on Friday.

On top of that, the recent eruption of conflict between Israel and Hamas threatens Ukraine's efforts to appeal to its international allies for help.

“The war here is full-scale, complex, large, global. The biggest war since World War II," Zelenskyy told AP.

"So we understand what the challenges may be if the focus of our allies’ attention will be scattered,” he added. “You see, attention equals help.”

His comments come a former NATO secretary-general warned that the world’s attention must “stay on Ukraine” because it may embolden Russian President Vladimir Putin to extend the attacks beyond Ukraine.

Lord George Robertson said: “I think it is inevitable that because we’re seeing the television from Gaza every day, that people are paying less attention to Ukraine, but that must change."

Ukraine relies heavily on military and humanitarian assistance from the West as the international community largely rallied around it following Russia’s invasion.

Cracks could be showing in support for Ukraine. Credit: AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

A recent Ukrainian counteroffensive apparently has yielded no major changes on the battlefield, and another tough winter of attritional warfare lies ahead.

Speaking on Ukraine's summer counteroffensive, Zelenskyy also admitted to AP that it did not produce the results many had hoped for.

He said this was due mainly to Ukraine not receiving hoped-for weapons from allies that kept ground forces at a disadvantage.

“Look, we are not backing down, I am satisfied. We are fighting with the second (best) army in the world, I am satisfied,” he said referring to the Russian military.

But he added: “We are losing people, I’m not satisfied. We didn’t get all the weapons we wanted, I can’t be satisfied, but I also can’t complain too much.”

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