President Volodymyr Zelenskyy asked NATO member countries to help supply additional air defense systems to protect the Ukrainian sky against Russian attacks on critical infrastructure.
“We separately discussed the situation with Russia's expected attacks on Ukraine's critical infrastructure and in this regard discussed the possibility of supplying additional air defense systems by member states. The Secretary General agreed to make his efforts to help us, to support us in this matter, to mobilize the member states of the Alliance,” Zelenskyy said at a joint press conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Kyiv.
He addressed the threat of Russian use of kamikaze drones on Ukrainian territory. “Last night alone, Russian terrorists used more than 40 Shaheds. And so almost every night. In the context of such intense attacks against Ukrainians, against our cities, against our ports, which are important for global food security, we need a corresponding intensity of pressure on Russia and a corresponding strengthening of our air shield. The world must see that the Russian terror is losing, so that our common values will ultimately win,” state news agency Ukrinform cited him as saying.
Earlier in his nightly address, Zelenskyy highlighted how Ukraine’s forces need more means to destroy Russian missiles, combat drones and aircraft. “There are special orders for the military, there will also be special orders for everyone involved in international affairs: our warriors need more means of destroying Russian missiles, ‘Shaheds’ and other combat drones, as well as Russian aircraft,” Zelenskyy said.
Regarding Ukraine acquiring NATO membership, Zelenskyy said: “It is only a matter of time before Ukraine becomes a de jure member of the Alliance. We are doing everything to bring this time closer. Ukraine already defends the common space of freedom that unites all NATO members, and the victory of Ukraine in this unprovoked and criminal war that was unleashed by Russia is guaranteed to ensure long-term security and peace, and not only for our state, but for the entire continent.”
Stoltenberg welcomed that all allies have agreed that Ukraine will join NATO, and pointed to three historic decisions taken at the Vilnius Summit to help make this a reality. The Secretary General stressed: “these three decisions mean that Ukraine is now closer to NATO than ever before.”
The Secretary General added that NATO Allies continue to provide high-end capabilities to help push back the invasion, including modern tanks, sophisticated missile systems, and air defenses, as well as training for F-16 pilots. “This is a collective effort by all NATO Allies,” he said, noting that of nearly 100 billion euros in military support committed to Ukraine since last year, around half has come from European NATO Allies and Canada.