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13 Oct, 2022 15:42

Zelensky demands more anti-aircraft defenses from the West

Ukraine has only 10% of what it needs to protect the skies, the president claims
Zelensky demands more anti-aircraft defenses from the West

President Vladimir Zelensky has urged the West to supply more anti-aircraft weapons to Ukraine, insisting that his country currently has only 10% of what it needs. Zelensky made the remarks as he addressed a session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on Thursday via videolink.

“Our ability to close the skies is not sufficient,” Zelensky told the transnational body, adding that the country “would like” to receive “many times” more anti-aircraft defense systems from the West.

There is nothing to add – we have 10% of what we need. 

Zelensky urged the PACE members to spread pro-Ukrainian sentiments wherever they could and advocate deliveries of anti-aircraft defenses to the country. “I ask you at all levels, in politics, in the media, in communication with voters, to back the supply of sufficient air and missile defense systems to Ukraine,” he said.

Zelensky’s plea follows massive missile strikes launched by Russia against Ukraine’s critical infrastructure earlier this week. The strikes came in response to an explosion on the Crimean Bridge over the weekend. Moscow has squarely blamed Kiev for the bridge incident, explicitly branding the blast a “terrorist attack” against the country.

The massive missile barrage has been widely condemned by Ukraine’s Western backers, with several countries already pledging to deliver additional anti-aircraft systems and munitions to prop up Kiev in its fight against Moscow. Russia has repeatedly warned the West against “pumping” Ukraine with weaponry, stating that such activities would only prolong the conflict.

Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, citing Kiev’s failure to implement the Minsk agreements, designed to give the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk special status within the Ukrainian state. The protocols, brokered by Germany and France, were first signed in 2014. Former Ukrainian president Pyotr Poroshenko has since admitted that Kiev’s main goal was to use the ceasefire to buy time and “create powerful armed forces.”

In February 2022, the Kremlin recognized the Donbass republics as independent states and demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join any Western military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked.