ELMAU, Germany — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Monday urged G7 leaders to provide his country with sophisticated missile defense systems and additional aid that would swing the war against Russia in Ukraine’s favor as quickly as possible.
Zelenskyy also called for greater financial aid for his war-torn country, as well as additional sanctions on Russia to continue punishing the Kremlin for its invasion, according to a summary of Zelenskyy’s remarks released by his office and according to officials. Westerners who listened to his comments. .
Speaking via video link to leaders of the world’s major democratic economic powers gathered in the Bavarian mountains of Germany for a summit, Zelenskyy described a missile attack that hit his capital Kyiv on Sunday.
“Our state needs modern and effective missile defense systems that can bring peace to Ukrainian cities far from the frontline,” Zelenskyy told the leaders, according to the reading provided by his office. “Russia is stepping up rocket attacks against Ukraine, so it is very important to ensure basic security for the civilian population.”
Jake Sullivan, the US national security adviser who is attending the summit with President Joe Biden, told reporters in Elmau that Washington was preparing to accede to Zelenskyy’s request on air defense systems and was also working with allies to funnel additional weapons and funds.
“I can confirm that we are, in fact, finalizing a package that includes advanced air defense capabilities,” Sullivan said, adding that Biden told the Ukrainian president, “We intend to finalize a package. which includes advanced means of air defense. – and long-range air defense capabilities for the Ukrainians, as well as other urgently needed items, including ammunition for artillery and counter-battery radar systems.
Russian forces now occupy much of southern and eastern Ukraine, including a so-called land bridge to Crimea, the peninsula Russia invaded and annexed in 2014. Russian President Vladimir’s armies Putin failed in a first attempt to take over Kyiv and overthrow Zelenskyy. government, but are now focusing on the eastern region of Donbass, where they have made significant gains despite heavy losses.
Sunday’s missile attack on Kyiv killed at least one man and injured a child when a residential tower was damaged. It was the first strike on the capital in several weeks and appeared to be timed to coincide with the G7 summit, where the war in Ukraine dominated discussions. The leaders pledged on Monday to extend their financial, military and humanitarian support to Ukraine “for as long as it takes”.
Sullivan told reporters that during the video call, Zelensky described Sunday’s attack and told leaders he wanted “additional air defense capabilities that could shoot down missiles from the sky.” Summarizing the conversation, Sullivan said, “Much of it was detailed and sensitive. It was a real conversation about strategy.
He added: “What we are trying to do with this item is to tailor our military assistance to the particular and immediate needs of Ukrainians on the battlefield at any given time.”
Ukraine’s president has expressed a strong desire to swing the war in his favor over the next few months – before winter. Ukraine is facing a monthly budget deficit of between 5 and 7 billion euros and the country is staying afloat entirely thanks to Western funding.
Zelenskyy also used the call to reiterate his delight at the European Council’s decision last week to formally grant EU candidate status to Ukraine, and he urged the G7 to start working on developing security safeguards that could protect the country in the future.
Such a scenario, however, seems a long way off given that Zelenskyy himself has suggested that he would only be willing to agree to any kind of ceasefire after Russian forces have withdrawn or at least returned to their positions. before the start of the major invasion on February 24.
During a meeting on Sunday with French President Emmanuel Macron, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned that it would be a mistake to try to impose a ceasefire or reach a settlement with Russia now, because the positions on the battlefield currently favor Moscow.
According to Sullivan, Zelenskyy made it clear that he wanted to end the war as quickly as possible.
“He thinks bitter conflict is not in the interests of the Ukrainian people for obvious reasons,” Sullivan said. “So he would like to see his army and those in the West who support his army and use the next few months to the fullest to put Ukraine in the best possible position.”