PHNOM PENH, Nov 12 – Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Saturday that the West was on its way to “joint victory” over Russia as he hailed military aid for making the recapture of Kherson possible.

The Ukrainian national anthem rang out in Kherson after Moscow pulled its forces out of the city – the first major urban hub to fall after President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion in February.

“There were very few who believed that Ukraine would survive,” Kuleba said as he met US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on the sidelines of a Southeast Asian summit in Cambodia.

“It’s only together that we will be able to prevail and to kick Russia out of Ukraine. We are on the way,” Kuleba said.

“This is coming, and our victory will be our joint victory – a victory of all peace-loving nations across the world.”

Kuleba said Ukrainians celebrating the liberation of Kherson were also shedding “tears of gratitude” to the United States for billions of dollars in military aid.

“We will always be grateful for everything President (Joe) Biden and the people of America, irrespective of their domestic political preferences, have done to make this happen,” Kuleba said, days after US congressional elections that saw no significant boost to far-right critics of support to Ukraine.

Blinken hailed the “remarkable courage” of Ukraine’s military and people and vowed that US support “will continue for as long as it takes” to defeat Russia.

Earlier, Kuleba also thanked Australia for its support – US$440 million (US$2.03 billion) of mostly military assistance – during a meeting with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.

“I understand that everyone wants this war to end as soon as possible. We are definitely the ones who want that more than anyone else,” he said during the meeting.

“But as long as the war continues, and we see Russia mobilising more conscripts and bringing more weapons to Ukraine, of course we will continue to count on your continued support.”

Australia in October pledged an extra 30 Bushmaster armoured vehicles to Ukraine and allocated 70 Australian defence personnel to train Ukrainian soldiers in Britain.

Albanese said the ongoing “targeting of Ukraine civilians by Putin’s forces was reprehensible”.

Blinken for his part condemned Russia’s campaign to “brutalise” Ukraine by attacking civilian energy infrastructure.

“It’s something that the world should be aghast at as well,” Blinken said. – AFP