President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has asked NATO leaders for modern weapons and funds to support Ukraine’s fight against the Russian invasion, warning that fighting could escalate beyond its borders and into their countries.
Zelenskyy addressed the bloc’s 30 leaders via video link on Wednesday as they gathered for a pivotal summit in the Spanish capital, Madrid, where they would outline the alliance’s 10-year strategic framework and launch the biggest overhaul of its defense and deterrence. capabilities since the end of the Cold War.
He described the battle as “a war for the right to dictate terms in Europe – for what the future world order will look like”.
“The question is, who is next for Russia? Moldavia? The Baltic States? Poland? The answer is all of them,” Zelenskyy told the top. “We need to break through the Russian artillery advantage … We need much more modern systems, modern artillery.”
Ukrainian officials have continuously called for more firepower as the Russian invasion, which began on February 24, has re-targeted the eastern Donbas region.
Zelenskyy added that financial aid was “no less important than aid with weapons”, and said Kiev needs about $5 billion a month for its defense.
“Russia still receives billions every day and spends them on war,” he said, referring to the revenue Moscow generates through the sale of fossil fuels. “We have a billion-dollar deficit, we don’t have oil and gas to cover it,” Zelenskyy added.
His comments came after leaders of the Group of Seven (G7), made up of the world’s richest democracies, pledged earlier this week to further isolate Russia economically. The G7 and NATO countries have deposited billions of dollars in weapons and funds in Ukraine since the beginning of the Russian invasion.
Western countries have also imposed far-reaching sanctions on Moscow. The United States and Canada, which are much less dependent on Russia as an energy supplier than Europe, have banned all Russian oil imports. However, the European Union has only introduced a gradual oil embargo as part of its sanctions against Moscow, although G7 leaders said on Wednesday they had agreed to examine a price cap for Russian oil.
Zelenskyy called for further sanctions against Russia “that will stop its ability to pay for the war”.
He spoke after NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said on Wednesday the bloc was facing the “serious security crisis” since World War II, saying Russia “poses a direct threat” to the alliance.
That came when US President Joe Biden announced that Washington would be bolstering its forces in Europe, including establishing a permanent base in Poland, two more naval destroyers in Rota, Spain, and two more F-35 squadrons to the United Kingdom. .
On Tuesday, Turkey dropped its opposition to Sweden and Finland joining NATO, paving the way for the Scandinavian countries to join the bloc.