President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday pressed a NATO summit to flood weapons in Ukraine and Western allies responded with new sanctions against Russia, promises of military aid and discussion of the expulsion of Moscow from the international G20 body.
While fighting raged across Ukraine, with television footage showing a large Russian warship on fire near the southern city of Mariupol, Zelensky addressed the NATO emergency summit and a G7 leaders’ meeting via video link.
He said the West must provide “all the weapons we need” to “prevent the deaths of Ukrainians from Russian strikes, from Russian occupation.”
US President Joe Biden kicked off a day of intense diplomacy and made it clear that the Western alliance was listening.
“NATO has never been more united,” Biden said.
And after Zelensky said there was a “real” chance that Russian President Vladimir Putin would resort to chemical warfare, Biden told reporters “we will respond if he uses it.”
Biden noted that under his presidency, the United States had promised $ 2 billion worth of weapons to Ukraine. He announced a new commitment to “more than $ 1 billion in humanitarian aid”, and promised to welcome 100,000 of the nearly 3.7 million refugees fleeing the country.
After the United States announced new sanctions, including the target of Russian politicians, Biden said the West is in it for the long term, with the aim of “increasing the pain” on Moscow.
Biden has stepped up efforts to oust Putin’s Russia with a call to exclude Moscow from the G20.
“It was raised today,” Biden told reporters, adding that if the group of 20 countries did not agree, he would insist that Ukraine be allowed to join.
In his speech, Zelensky said that Russia uses phosphorus bombs, which cause serious burns, indiscriminately protect civilians, and they can resort to “full-scale use” of chemical weapons.
Ukraine has already lived through “a month of heroic resistance. A month of the darkest suffering,” he said. “To save people and our cities, Ukraine needs military assistance without restrictions.”
– ‘Barbarism’ –
On the ground, long-range Russian attacks on the eastern city of Kharkiv killed at least six civilians and wounded more than a dozen, Ukrainian authorities said.
At least four people, including two children, have been killed in strikes elsewhere in the east, said Sergiy Gayday, governor of Lugansk, who accused Russian forces of using phosphorus in the village of Rubizhne.
Britain’s ITV network showed footage of the firearms falling into a white haze overnight on the shuttle village of Irpin near Kiev.
The extent of civilian suffering was underlined when the UN said more than half of the country’s children had been driven out of their homes by Russian bombing.
“Vladimir Putin has already crossed the red line to barbarism,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in Brussels.
Ukrainian forces have claimed repulsion of Russian troops in some areas around Kiev. They also claimed success in attacking one of the naval vessels used to bring Russian forces in from the Black Sea.
Video footage shows a ship in a ball of fire and smoke, with other vessels nearby on their way away from the inferno.
– NATO strengthens eastern flank –
Zelensky wants NATO to help Ukraine go on the offensive with more advanced fighter jets, missile defense systems, tanks, armored vehicles and missile missiles.
NATO members provided a steady stream of weapons, including tank rockets, which helped stem Russia’s advance. But it is considered essentially defensive.
The United States has so far ruled out sending planes or other major weapons systems to Ukraine. Biden says he does not want to cross a line after what he says could be “World War 3” which pits nuclear-weapon Russia against NATO.
However, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced new deployments to Romania, Hungary, Slovakia and Bulgaria to the eastern flankers, as well as strengthening chemical and nuclear defenses in the event that Russia extended its attack beyond Ukraine.
Biden said NATO unity had shown “Putin is getting exactly the opposite of what he meant.”
– ‘Greek milestone’ –
Zelensky’s call on NATO came one month after the day Russian tanks rolled across the border, acting on Putin’s plan to force pro-Western Ukraine back into Moscow’s orbit.
Since then, thousands of civilians, as well as thousands of soldiers from both sides, have been reportedly killed. More than 10 million Ukrainians have fled their homes.
And the month of war displaced 4.3 million children – more than half of Ukraine’s estimated child population of 7.5 million.
“This is a grim milestone that could have lasting consequences for future generations,” said Catherine Russell, Unicef chief.
UN figures show that nearly 3.7 million Ukrainians have fled abroad, and more are now displaced inside Ukraine after disturbing journeys from cities such as Mariupol.
In the besieged southern port, Zelensky says nearly 100,000 people were trapped without food, water or power and endured heavy shelling by Russian forces.
The city is a precious price for Russia as it will enable a bridge between Russia annexed Crimea and regions already controlled by Russian authorized forces in eastern Ukraine.
Fierce fighting made the city almost inaccessible.
Ramzan Kadyrov, the warlord of Russia’s Chechnya region, claimed on Thursday that his forces had taken control of the city hall there.
Meanwhile, a Russian strike in Zhytomyr, a garrison town west of Kiev, razed the school where Vasiliy Kravchuk’s six-year-old son would start next year.
“It’s 20, 30 times a day we go to the basement (after shelter). It’s hard because my wife is pregnant, I have a little boy,” said the 37-year-old, who was in tourism before the war. worked, sobbed.
– Russian gold tar –
While the Moscow stock exchange partially reopened for the first time since the invasion, the G7 summit in Brussels promised new measures to destabilize Russia’s faltering economy.
The group of advanced economies and the EU have undertaken to block transactions involving the Russian central bank’s gold reserves, in order to block any Moscow offer to circumvent Western sanctions.
Russia’s isolation on the world stage has been underlined by a second non-binding UN General Assembly resolution calling for an immediate end to the war, which was approved by 140 countries, with 38 abstaining and five voting against.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by techlives staff and is published from a press release)