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“Urgent: Zelensky Seeks Western Support with Spotlight on Middle East!

Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, has been touring European and Gulf capitals in an effort to rally support against Russian aggression. With recent unrest focused firmly on the Middle East, Zelensky is looking to raise the profile of his own country’s issue and appeal to Western powers for increased aid and pressure against Moscow. In the wake of the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and the tensions between Israel and Palestine, Ukraine’s own confrontation with Russia on the Black Sea appears to have been relegated to an afterthought. Despite an uptick in hostilities between the two powers, Zelensky has remained adamant that support and pressure must be kept on the Kremlin, and that Ukraine cannot be forgotten. During his visit to Paris earlier this month, the Ukrainian president argued that the West should take a tough stance on Russia, particularly regarding the implementation of the Minsk Agreement. This would entail the withdrawal of Russian troops and the full restoration of Ukraine’s sovereignty over the disputed Donbass region. To encourage European governments to stand up to Moscow, Zelensky is actively promoting Ukraine as a whole, touting its economic potential and strategic importance. At the same time, Kyiv has made it clear that it cannot confront Russia alone, appealing to the West to provide moral and, where possible, military assistance. At the Gulf Cooperation Council summit in December, Zelensky further sought to raise awareness of Ukraine’s plight, meeting with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and other regional leaders to discuss Russia’s involvement in the region and its wider geopolitical influence. In the months since, Zelensky has pledged to send medical aid to Syria, an act designed to win allies in the war-torn country. Ukraine has also appealed to the West in economic terms, calling for increased investment not only to support its own nation, but potentially to support those countries most at risk of Russian meddling such as Belarus. Zelensky’s diplomatic offensive may not have yet made a tangible impact on either the internal situation in Ukraine, or on the broader landscape of Russian-Western relations, but the president is clearly determined to raise the profile of his country’s plight and position of dispute. Whether or not the West will respond remains to be seen.