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President Volodymyr Zelensky during a joint press conference with President of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola (not pictured) on May 9, 2024 in Kyiv, Ukraine. (Andriy Zhyhaylo/Obozrevatel/Global Images Ukraine via Getty Images)
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Ukraine cannot afford to lose the city of Kharkiv, President Volodymyr Zelensky told in an interview with ABC News on May 16, calling the situation "very serious."

At the same time, Zelensky said that Ukraine could prevent Russia from occupying the city with two additional Patriot anti-air systems.

Russia launched a new offensive with 30,000 troops on May 10, targeting Kharkiv Oblast, which is situated at the border with Russia in northeastern Ukraine.

Moscow's troops have focused their efforts in the directions of Lyptsi and Vovchansk, two settlements a few kilometers south of the border. There is ongoing combat in the northern outskirts of Vovchansk as of the morning of May 16.

When asked if the U.S. is to blame for what is happening in Kharkiv Oblast, Zelensky said, "It is the world's fault."

"They gave (Russian President Vladimir) Putin the opportunity to occupy. But now the world can help."

According to ABC News, Zelensky refrained from openly criticizing the U.S., keeping in line with his typical approach to Ukraine's largest provider of military assistance.  

The president nonetheless appeared more "frank" than usual and displayed visible signs of "frustration," ABC News wrote.

When asked about concerns from some portions of the U.S. electorate about the amount of money being sent to Ukraine, Zelensky refuted the narrative and said, "That money is not given to Ukraine."

"It's money spent in American factories, creating American jobs… And we are not just fighting for our freedom. If not Ukraine, it would be another country."

Studies have indicated that at least 31 U.S. states are producing weapons or military equipment for Ukraine, using money earmarked by Congress.

48 hours in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s most-bombed major city
The first signs that something ominous is happening in Kharkiv come as soon as the train from Kyiv reaches the suburbs of the city – as two pillars of smoke appear in the distance, every single phone in the carriage erupts with a piercing electronic squawking. “I guess we’ve arrived,
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