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Zelensky pleads for air defence help at Berlin aid summit

June 12, 2024
Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky seen in this undated photo.—AFP/File
Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky seen in this undated photo.—AFP/File

BERLIN: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Tuesday pleaded for more air defence help to stop Russian attacks as he began an intense week of diplomatic meetings with Western partners.

“Russia´s greatest strategic advantage over Ukraine is superiority in the sky. It is missile and bomb terror that helps Russian troops advance on the ground,” Zelensky told a reconstruction conference in Berlin. “Air defence is the answer,” he said.

Zelensky, who is also due to address the German parliament, will join the heads of the G7 developed nations later this week in Italy.

He then heads to Switzerland for peace talks over the weekend on the war in Ukraine. Russia has not been invited.

Opening the Berlin conference, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz also urged allies to provide more air defence for Ukraine.

“I would like to make a heartfelt plea to everyone here today: please support our initiative to strengthen Ukraine´s air defence with everything that is possible,” Scholz told delegates.

Germany has contributed three Patriot air defence systems to Kyiv, while Zelensky said a total of seven Patriots are needed for Ukraine to shield its urban centres from the storm of Russian missiles.