Zelensky makes plea to EU leaders for more military equipment and means of defence

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made an urgent plea to European leaders at the summit in Brussels on Wednesday night for more air defence systems, weapons, ammunition and other military equipment.

Zelensky opened his traditional video address to the summit with Russia's new missile strikes on Chernihiv, which killed 17 people earlier in the day. "It reflects what our greatest need is: the need for air defence," the president said, again drawing a parallel with the effective defence of Iranian air strikes by Israel and its allies. "Our Ukrainian skies deserve the same security."

Russia is eagerly exploiting gaps in Ukraine's air defences to increase drone and missile attacks on cities and energy infrastructure. According to Josep Borrell, the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Kiev hopes to receive seven additional Patriot air defence systems in the short term. He says that the European allies have about a hundred of them.

German support

Germany announced on Saturday that it would send an additional Patriot system to Ukraine. "Russia's war of aggression continues unabated. We must do more," Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Wednesday before the summit began. He called on his colleagues to follow Germany's example and send additional anti-aircraft capabilities. "This will be of immediate use. We want to encourage others to do the same."

No concrete commitments are expected at the EU summit, but the urgent situation in Ukraine is putting renewed pressure on leaders. NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg has already made it clear that member states of his military alliance can send extra capacity from their stockpiles, even if this means temporarily violating NATO agreements on their operational capacity.

In response, Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte announced that he would see if his country could "move the pain threshold a bit". But "we have a very limited number of systems", Rutte warned against exaggerated expectations. Stoltenberg also qualified the figure quoted by Borrell: according to him, there are far fewer than a hundred.

"Anything that will help hold the front line"

Zelensky also pointed out in his speech that Ukraine does not only need additional air defences now that the Russian army is also putting pressure on the front line and is gradually advancing. "Weapons for our soldiers. Ammunition for artillery. Vehicles. Drones. Anything that will help hold the front line," he requested.

Zelensky also regretted that the European Union had still not delivered the promised one million rounds of ammunition. Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda was also concerned that there did not always seem to be a strong will to continue supporting Ukraine. "We make decisions but do not implement them (...) and the time between decision-making and implementation is several, sometimes even more, months".


Related news

Website preview
Gennez highlights humanitarian needs during a three-day visit to Ukraine
Belgian minister of development cooperation Caroline Gennez (Vooruit) arrived in Kyiv on Thursday for a three-day visit to Ukraine. As the second...
Website preview
EU summit: Zelensky wants frozen Russian assets used for reconstruction and defence
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky requested that Russia's frozen assets in the Brussels securities house Euroclear be put entirely towards...


Get updates in your mailbox

By clicking "Subscribe" I confirm I have read and agree to the Privacy Policy.

About belganewsagency.eu

Belga News Agency delivers dependable, rapid and high-quality information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from Belgium and abroad to all Belgian media. The information covers all sectors, from politics, economics and finance to social affairs, sports and culture, not to mention entertainment and lifestyle.

Every day, our journalists and press photographers produce hundreds of photos and news stories, dozens of online information items, plus audio and video bulletins, all in both national languages. Since the end of March 2022 English has been added as a language.

For public institutions, businesses and various organisations that need reliable information, Belga News Agency also offers a comprehensive range of corporate services to meet all their communication needs.


Arduinkaai 29 1000 Brussels