Speaking on the eve of the NATO summit, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called on the alliance to provide “effective and unrestricted” support to Ukraine, including any weapons the country needs to fend off the Russian invasion.
“We ask that the alliance declare that it will fully assist Ukraine to win this war, clear our territory of the invaders and restore peace in Ukraine,” he said late Wednesday during his nightly video address to the nation.
Zelenskyy will speak to the NATO summit by video, the president’s office said.
He appealed to Western countries to stay united in the face what he says are Russia’s efforts to “lobby its interests” with “some partners” to bring them over to its side.
“We will see who is a friend, who is a partner and who has sold out and betrayed us,” he said in an emotional speech. “Together we should not allow Russia to break anyone in NATO, the EU or G-7, to break them and drag them to the side of war.”
Zelenskyy noted that Ukrainian skies are still not closed to Russian aircraft and missiles and that Ukraine hasn’t received the fighter jets or modern air-defense systems it requested. He said Ukraine also needs tanks and anti-ship systems.
“It has been a month of defending ourselves from attempts to destroy us, wipe us off the face of the earth,” he said. “We have lasted six times longer than the enemy had planned … but the Russian troops are destroying our cities, killing civilians indiscriminately, raping women, kidnapping children, shooting refugees, capturing aid columns and looting.”
U.S. President Joe Biden has hesitated to sign off on plans that would provide fighter jets to Ukraine, perhaps through an intermediary like Poland, or to help impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine. Such actions, he has reasoned, would likely be construed by Russia as going beyond support for Ukraine, to active participation. That, in turn, could draw America into active combat, and he has so far pledged not to put U.S. boots on the ground in Ukraine for fear of helping trigger a world war.
Switching to Russian, Zelenskyy appealed to Russians “to leave Russia so as not to give your tax money to the war.” Tens of thousands of Russians already have fled Russia since the war began, fearing the intensifying crackdown at home.contributed to this report.