Ukraine Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal argues for more U.S. aid Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal discusses on NPR's All Things Considered how further U.S. aid would make a difference on the front lines, and the state of the war in general.

Ukraine's prime minister says, if passed, $60B U.S. aid package will be critical

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ANDREW LIMBONG, HOST:

In the lead-up to that aid package passing the House, Ukraine's prime minister, Denys Shmyhal, was in the U.S. He was meeting with members of Congress and officials in the Biden administration to make the case for more about Ukraine, which he says is critical for their war effort. The prime minister took time to visit our D.C. studios, and I asked him what he'd tell Americans who were skeptical of sending more aid to Ukraine.

DENYS SHMYHAL: If we just imagined that Ukraine lost this war, then it will mean that world global order is destroyed, and all of us on this planet will be under threat, that many kind of aggressions will emerge all around the planet. In the end of the day, it could lead to the Third World War. So we all should understand if we will lost this war, it will mean that Putin will have a signal that he may go into a head for the next steps for the Baltic countries, for the Poland.

Plus, it will be a good example for all the rest dictators and regimes that unprovoked illegal aggression will not be punished, and we will see another conflict. And in the end of the day, it will hurt United States in future for this situation, which we now have on the European continent with a full-scale war in Ukraine.

LIMBONG: President Zelenskyy recently signed new laws that will allow the conscription of many more men, especially younger ones. Talk me through the thinking of this because Ukrainian soldiers are greatly outnumbered. Russia has more than three times the population of Ukraine. Are more bodies on the battleground really the answer here?

SHMYHAL: So now there is no problem with human power on the frontline from Ukrainian side. We have enough. We organize rotations to give the guys possibility to rest a little bit, to this one who spent too long time on the battlefields. So now we need to continue mobilization of the human power, and actually, this new draft law, which is signed by president, answered these questions - how to make this process more open, more transparent. This is important signal to our partners that Ukrainian society is not exhausted. We are not disappointed. We continue our fight for our land, our families, our homes.

LIMBONG: The Pentagon's Office of the Inspector General issued a report earlier this year, and it said that there are nearly 40,000 weapons that were provided to Ukraine but have not been accounted for. Will there be any improvement on how those weapons are accounted for and tracked so we know where they are?

SHMYHAL: According to my information, all what United States supplied to Ukraine is absolutely, clearly accounted. And we cooperate with inspectors generals from Ministry of Defense, from Department of State, from USAID. I personally have met them two times, and we have regular communication with inspector generals, and they never communicate about any problems with accountability and transparency of using of United States equipment or weaponry. So we pay special attention to questions of accountability.

LIMBONG: So you've never heard that. Like, they've been like, hey, we don't know where these guys are.

SHMYHAL: No, no.

LIMBONG: Oh, interesting.

SHMYHAL: Sometimes, they told about this, but we shouldn't forget that we are under influence of Russian propaganda, Russian disinformation. And they especially implement these messages that Ukrainians are using weaponry not in proper way. They are selling this weaponry and so on and so on. And so because of this, we cooperate with our partners very closely, and we are very accountable for this, to destroy this propaganda and this lie from the Russian side.

LIMBONG: This next question is actually related. Ukraine has actually taken a lot of drastic steps to combat corruption within the country. I was wondering if you could lay out some of those steps to listeners and explain what you think - what has been done and what you think needs to be done further.

SHMYHAL: Thank you. We pay huge attention to implementation of reforms, and during these two years of war, we make huge progress. And I should say that we implement all needed legislation and create all needed anti-corruptional (ph) infrastructure. So we create an anti-corruptional national bureau, a national agency for prevention of corruption, national anti-corruptional court and special anti-corruptional prosecutors. So all the needed infrastructure is created. It works perfectly. They demonstrate results. Unfortunately for me, but they demonstrate some cases when high-level officials are gauged on the corruption. But it means that this infrastructure will bring results.

LIMBONG: Fighting corruption can be a double-edged sword, I think. Like, when you catch someone committing corruption, and you say, here's this person, I think, you know, on the world stage, people say, oh, they're catching a lot of people of corruption. They must have a lot of corruption. Whereas on your side, you're like, we're getting all of this corruption out of here. How do you combat the perception of corruption while fighting corruption itself?

SHMYHAL: Thank you so much for this question. Actually, this is something what we try to explain to our society, to our partners when we catch corruption at people, so it doesn't mean that we have so much corruption. It means that our system works. So human factor is presented all around the world, unfortunately, unfortunately.

LIMBONG: What should Americans know about life in Ukraine right now?

SHMYHAL: Life's now is different. Some part of Ukraine economically now is OK, despite the nightly and daily air raids, despite the dying people. We work hard, but part of Ukraine is occupied. Part of Ukraine is under fire, and this is different life. So in some part of Ukraine, people are suffering so much. On the other part of Ukraine, people are internally displaced persons. Many of them have post-traumatic syndrome. Someone told me that it is impossible to repeat such kind of war like Second World War, but now we have war on the territory of European continent, and we should stop this. We should win this war to let Russians and all the potential dictators and aggressor understand that it's not correct to break global security order.

LIMBONG: Denys Shmyhal is the prime minister of Ukraine. He joined me here in our Washington, D.C., studios. Prime Minister, thank you so much.

SHMYHAL: Thank you so much.

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