Western backers of Ukraine on Wednesday discussed supplying it more air defences as a “top priority” as Kyiv urged bolstered protection against Russia’s missile barrages.
Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said just three words when asked what he hoped for from a meeting with Kyiv’s supporters at NATO headquarters in Brussels: “Air defence systems.”
NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said discussions would address “how to ramp up support for Ukraine and the top priority will be more air defence” after the Russian missile strikes this week.
“The horrific and indiscriminate attacks against Ukrainian cities left civilians killed and civilian critical infrastructure destroyed,” Stoltenberg said.
“This demonstrates the urgent need for more air defence for Ukraine. Allies have provided air defence but we need even more. We need different types of air defence.”
Focus has shifted to air defences after Russia unleashed its ferocious blitz across Ukraine following a blast on its vital bridge to the annexed Crimea peninsula.
Western allies are scrambling to work out how to supply more advanced systems to Ukraine as diplomats admit they have precious few to spare.
A first Iris-T medium-range system has arrived in Ukraine after Germany decided to ship it before even giving it to its own troops.
The US has also said it is looking to expedite the delivery of its NASAMS anti-missile and anti-drone system to Kyiv with the first batch expected in the coming weeks.