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Zelenskyy Urges Western Allies to Act, Calling for Air Defense Aid Amid Delay

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy expressed his concern regarding Western allies delaying important military decisions for his country.

In an exclusive interview with Reuters, President Zelenskyy called on partners to help shoot down Russian missiles over the territory of Ukraine to compensate for the deficit of Kyiv’s air defense, saying it wouldn’t mean the direct involvement of NATO in the war.

Since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, Russia has launched thousands of missiles and drones toward Ukraine, prompting Kyiv to prioritize bolstering its air defenses.

“Russians are using 300 planes on the territory of Ukraine. We need at least 120, 130 planes to resist in the sky,” he said.

The President stressed, that if partners aren’t ready to provide Kyiv the needed jets to protect the Ukrainian sky right away, they could fly their own planes to intercept Russia’s missiles.

“It’s a question of will,” he said. “But everyone says a word that sounds the same in every language: everyone is scared of escalation. Everyone has gotten used to the fact that Ukrainians are dying — that’s not escalation for people.”

Zelenskyy has also confirmed that Ukraine is negotiating with international partners about the possibility of striking targets on the territory of Russia with their weapons.

“So far, there is nothing positive,” he said.

Initially, Western countries restricted Ukraine’s use of their weaponry to defensive purposes, wary of exacerbating the conflict. However, in 2024, indications of a shift emerged following the UK Foreign Secretary’s visit to Kyiv. During this visit, he announced that Ukraine has the right to employ British-supplied arms for offensive operations, including strikes on Russian territory.

Furthermore, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken reaffirmed Ukraine’s sovereign right to decide its defense strategies independently.

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