| 20 May 2024, Monday |

Zelenskiy asks G7 for air defences, support for Belarus border mission

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy appealed to the G7 leaders for increased air defense capabilities to thwart Russia and support his proposal for an international observation mission on the Belarusian border.

Joining the G7 leaders’ virtual meeting a day after missiles rained down on Ukrainian cities including the capital Kyiv, Zelenskiy called for tough new sanctions on Moscow and again ruled out talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“When Ukraine receives a sufficient quantity of modern and effective air defence systems, the key element of Russia’s terror, rocket strikes, will cease to work,” Zelenskiy said, thanking German Chancellor Olaf Scholz for speeding up delivery of the IRIS-T air defence system and U.S. President Joe Biden for deliveries of air defence systems.

“We hope, Mr President, that these will be systems with a medium to long range of effectiveness, which will allow the creation of a layered system of defence.”

Ukraine’s Western allies have pumped aid and heavy weapons to Kyiv since Russia’s invasion in February. Zelenskiy’s government has mixed gratitude with pleas for more powerful weapons and faster deliveries.


Belarus this week announced its troops would be deployed with Russian forces near Ukraine, signalling a potential further escalation of the war. So far Belarus, a close Russian ally, has been a staging post for the invasion.

Ukraine has no plans to attack Belarus, Zelenskiy said, but wants to make sure there is no threat from its northern neighbour.

“On the border of Ukraine and Belarus, we can place a mission of international observers to monitor the security situation. The format can be worked out by our diplomats. I ask you, on the level of the G7, to support this initiative,” he said.

  • Reuters