Ukraine’s president said the Russian invasion was “a war for the right to dictate terms in Europe.”
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has asked NATO leaders for modern weapons and funds to support Ukraine’s fight against the Russian invasion, warning that the fighting could spill over from its borders and into their countries.
Zelenskyy addressed the bloc’s 30 leaders via video link on Wednesday as they gathered for a crucial summit in the Spanish capital, Madrid, where they were to present the alliance’s 10-year strategic framework and launch the largest overhaul of its defense and deterrence. capabilities since the end of the Cold War.
He described the fight as “a war for the right to dictate terms in Europe – for what the future world order will be.”
“The question is – who is next for Russia? Moldova? The Baltic countries? Poland? The answer is all of them,” Zelenskyy told the summit. “We have to break the Russian artillery advantage… We need much more modern systems, modern artillery.”
Ukrainian officials have continually called for more firepower as the Russian invasion, which began on February 24, has refocused on the eastern Donbass region.
Zelenskyy added that the financial support was “no less important than the aid in arms”, saying that Kyiv needed around $5 billion a month for its defence.
“Russia still receives billions every day and spends them on war,” he said, referring to the revenue Moscow generates through fossil fuel sales. “We have a multi-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 wealthiest democracies, pledged earlier in the week to further isolate Russia economically. G7 and NATO countries have poured billions of dollars in arms and funds into Ukraine since the Russian invasion began.
Western countries have also imposed far-reaching sanctions against Moscow. The United States and Canada, which depend far less on Russia as an energy supplier than Europe, have banned all imports of Russian oil. The European Union, however, has only introduced a gradual oil embargo as part of its sanctions against Moscow, although G7 leaders said on Wednesday they had agreed to explore a ceiling on Russian oil prices. .
Zelenskyy called for new 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 its “worst security crisis” since World War II, saying Russia “poses a direct threat ” for the covenant.
This came when US President Joe Biden announced that Washington would strengthen its position of strength in Europe, including establishing a permanent base in Poland, two more Navy destroyers based in Rota, Spain, and two more squadrons of F-35 in the UK.
On Tuesday, Turkey dropped its opposition to Sweden and Finland joining NATO, paving the way for the Nordic countries to join the bloc.