Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday demanded that European countries provide more military aid and add more sanctions on Russia, warning that not doing so would prolong the war.
Zelensky said in a virtual address to EU leaders that they should provide longer-range weapons and Western-made fighter jets. He thanked Slovakia and Poland for providing Soviet-made MiG-29 planes but said Kyiv needs “modern aircraft.”
“Is there rational motivation for the protraction in providing modern aircraft?” the Ukrainian leader said. He dismissed concerns about Russia potentially escalating the war in response to such support, pointing to the provision of German-made Leopard tanks.
“Remember how many Russian threats there were when it came to the transfer of Leopards and other tanks – more advanced than those our soldiers had previously. These more advanced tanks are already in Ukraine. So, what did Russia do in response? We all have to get used to the fact that a terrorist state bluffs more often than it can escalate,” he said.
Zelensky sharpened his rhetoric when discussing sanctions and criticized the EU for not adding more. “The protraction with new European sanctions packages is becoming increasingly troublesome,” he said.
The Ukrainian leader claimed that efforts are “not yet sufficient” to prevent Russia from circumventing sanctions and that other countries will think they can ignore sanctions. “That’s why sanctions must be expanded. There cannot be even a slight hint of delaying decisions on sanctions,” he demanded.
Zelensky also demanded that there “must be no slackening of sanctions,” especially in the name of “food security.” Western sanctions on both Russia and Belarus have impeded grain and fertilizer shipments, and the UN wants to ease sanctions to get more agricultural goods to Africa and elsewhere around the world.
Zelensky concluded his frustrated address by claiming if Europe doesn’t act quickly enough, “evil may have time to regroup and prepare itself for years of war.”