Washington should be the first to pledge resources for the defense of Ukraine and brand Russia a sponsor of terrorism, he said
Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky outlined to former US President Bill Clinton how the US can help his country amid the conflict with Russia. In particular, he urged America to sign security guarantees, which Kiev seeks to obtain from as many foreign nations as possible. He also wants Washington to designate Moscow a state sponsor of terrorism.
"For the entire civilized world the US is a beacon of democracy. When you give us artillery, other nations give us artillery too. So if the US designates Russia a state sponsor of terrorism, other nations will follow," the Ukrainian leader told a gathering hosted by the Clinton Foundation on Tuesday.
Kiev has been calling for such a designation for Russia for weeks, while the White House has said that it would be counterproductive and won't affect Washington's anti-Russian policies.
Zelensky reiterated the request as he spoke via video link to the Clinton Global Initiative. The former US president hosted the gathering and asked questions. Clinton repeatedly offered whatever help Zelensky's country may need and urged him to make specific suggestions.
"Most of us are pretty well-connected with our various governments, but also have many non-governmental means ... to bring help. So please, feel free to ask, and know that we are pulling for you," Clinton told Zelensky.
The Ukrainian president praised Washington for its role as an example for other like-minded nations and asked the US government to show leadership in providing Ukraine with weapons, money and other things it needs. He also called on the US to sign security guarantees, which Ukraine seeks to obtain from foreign nations.
The initiative, drawn up by an advisory group headed by former NATO secretary general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen and Zelensky's chief of staff, Andrey Yermak, was published last week. It involves binding pledges for long-term financing, arming and training of Ukrainian troops. Kiev perceives it as a stop-gap solution that would ensure its security until it formally joins NATO with its mutual defense provision.
"I would like to see the US to be the first country in the world to sign those documents on security guarantees with Ukraine," Zelensky told the gathering.
Clinton pointed out that he no longer spoke for the US government, but pledged to seek ways he can help Ukraine with things like humanitarian aid and reconstruction.
The Clinton Foundation has been involved over the years in rebuilding efforts in many parts of the world hit by various disasters. The charity took a particular interest in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake, though the benefits that the island nation got from it remain in dispute.