Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is at NATO headquarters in Brussels this week begging NATO defence ministers for more hardware to fight off the Russian invasion of his country.
“Air defense is a significant part of the answer to the question of when this war will end and whether it will end justly for Ukraine,” Zelenskyy said at the opening of a meeting of the U.S.-led Ukraine Defense Contact Group.
Zelenskyy said providing adequate air defense systems to Ukraine would mean guaranteeing normal life in Ukrainian cities and functioning grain corridors to export Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea and the Danube River to the world.
And he said Russian missiles and drones cannot threaten other allies if they cannot get past the defenses guarding Ukrainian skies.
“Ukraine can survive, and it will survive,” Zelenskyy said.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg called on allies to continue to step up and sustain the flow of weapons and ammunition to Ukraine.
He said Ukrainian forces have inflicted a high cost on Russia, and that Russia has been degraded militarily, weakened economically and isolated on the world stage.
“Your fight is our fight,” Stoltenberg said. “Your security is our security. Your values are our values. We will stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes.”
U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced $200 million in new U.S. military aid for Ukraine, including air defense munitions, artillery and rocket ammunition, anti-tank rounds and equipment to counter Russian drones. Other allies were also expected to announce new aid Wednesday.
He highlighted the threat of the coming winter season and the expectation that Russia will once again bombard Ukraine with missiles, drones and cruise missiles.
Russian aerial attacks repeatedly targeted Ukrainian infrastructure during the last winter season, leaving Ukraine scrambling to rebuild its power grid.
“By turning civilians into targets, [Russian President Vladimir] Putin hopes to break the spirit of the Ukrainian people and plunge them into bitter cold and darkness,” Austin said. “But he will fail, and we all know it.”