Ukrainian President calls for air defence support to counter Russian attacks

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky

11th June 2024 – (Kyiv) Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has made a heartfelt plea for additional air defence support to counter Russian attacks as he embarks on a week of intense diplomatic engagements with Western partners. Addressing a reconstruction conference in Berlin, Zelensky emphasized that Russia’s strategic advantage lies in its superiority in the sky, enabling its troops to advance on the ground with missile and bomb terror. He stressed that air defence is the crucial answer to this threat.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz of Germany, opening the conference, echoed Zelensky’s call and urged all participants to support the initiative to strengthen Ukraine’s air defence to the fullest extent possible. Germany has already contributed three Patriot air defence systems to Kyiv, but Zelensky asserted that a total of seven Patriots are required to safeguard urban centres from Russian missile strikes.

The Ukrainian president highlighted the devastating impact of Russian aerial attacks on the country’s infrastructure, with half of the electricity production already destroyed. In response, Ukraine’s state power operator announced extended scheduled outages due to increased consumption and extensive damage to the network.

With the conflict at a critical juncture, Zelensky aims to garner international support through his diplomatic offensive. At the G7 summit in Italy, he will engage in discussions on Russia’s war on Ukraine, seeking additional assistance from Western leaders. However, US President Joe Biden’s absence from the summit, with Vice President Kamala Harris attending in his place, poses a diplomatic setback for Kyiv.

Following the G7 meeting, Zelensky will travel to Switzerland for a peace summit on the war in Ukraine. The summit, attended by representatives from around 90 countries and international organizations, aims to secure a joint final declaration. While Russia and China have not been invited, Zelensky and other leaders will strive to find a peaceful resolution to the conflict and urge Russian President Vladimir Putin to end the campaign and withdraw troops.