Zelenskyy says Ukraine needs air defenses, aid for energy system

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Zelenskyy says Ukraine needs air defenses, aid for energy system

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy stressed the need for air defenses and rebuilding the country’s energy system as he spoke Tuesday at a reconstruction conference hosted by Germany.

Zelenskyy said Russian forces have targeted Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, with drone and missile attacks destroying half of Ukraine’s energy generation capacity since winter.

He said that after two years of war, Ukraine’s military has shown it can hold on the frontlines and maintain access to the Black Sea.

“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,” Zelenskyy said. “Air defense is the answer.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz react prior to the start of a working session during the Ukraine Recovery Conference in Berlin on June 11, 2024.

He said Ukraine expects it will secure billions of dollars in aid for its military and infrastructure needs.

The conference in Berlin comes days ahead of a peace conference in Switzerland where 90 countries and organizations will work on a framework for carrying out a peace plan and how to involve Russia and Ukraine in a peace process.

Russia is not attending the talks in Switzerland.

There is also a summit of NATO leaders set for early July in Washington, where NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Tuesday he expects allies will agree to have the alliance “lead in providing security assistance, training for Ukraine, and also to agree a long term financial commitment to Ukraine.”

Stoltenberg told reporters during a visit to Latvia that NATO allies already provide 99% of military support to Ukraine, so it makes sense for the alliance itself to play a larger role in coordinating efforts and preventing gaps in aid deliveries to Ukrainian forces.

“Ukraine needs a predictable, stable flow of military support,” Stoltenberg said.

Some information for this report was provided by Agence France-Presse and Reuters.

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