Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has called on NATO, EU and G7 countries meeting in Brussels to help kyiv fight the Russian invasion, which has killed thousands and driven out a quarter of the country’s 44 million inhabitants of Ukraine.
“We are determined to continue to impose costs on Russia to end this brutal war,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told leaders gathered at the headquarters of the Western military alliance.
“We will discuss Allied support for Ukraine. We will also discuss NATO efforts to strengthen our defenses now and for years to come.”
US President Joe Biden said during the closed session that he favors sending more troops to NATO’s eastern flank, a senior US administration official said, adding that Washington was working to support Ukraine with anti-ship missiles.
NATO, however, rejected repeated pleas from kyiv to defend Ukrainian skies against Russian airstrikes, and Zelenskiy – who joined the NATO summit by video call – complained that the West had not equipped with modern tanks or anti-missile systems.
NATO would also not send troops or planes to Ukraine, Stoltenberg reiterated as two media outlets in his native Norway announced he would remain at the helm of the alliance beyond the end of his term. current term later in 2022 due to war.
“NATO has yet to show what the alliance can do to save people,” Zelenskiy said at the summit, adding that he believed Russian President Vladimir Putin also wanted to attack eastern members of the NATO. NATO – Poland and the Baltic States.
Putin says his “special military operation” is aimed at disarming Ukraine, whose aspirations to join NATO and the EU are anathema to Moscow.
NATO has increased its presence on its eastern borders, with some 40,000 troops spread from the Baltic to the Black Sea. The summit was to agree on the deployment of four new combat units in Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Slovakia.
SANCTIONS & ENERGY
A NATO official estimated that up to 15,000 Russian troops have been killed in Ukraine so far and a total of 40,000 have been killed, wounded, taken prisoner or missing.
The month-long land, sea and air assault targeted residential areas, schools and hospitals in Ukrainian cities including Kharkiv, as well as the headquarters of Mariupol on the Sea of Azov. Russia denies targeting civilians.
Britain on Thursday sanctioned another wave of Russian banks, including Gazprombank and Alfa Bank, as well as a woman who London said was the daughter-in-law of Sergei Lavrov, Putin’s former foreign minister.
“Putin has already crossed the red line into barbarism,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said, adding: “The tougher our sanctions…the more we can do to help Ukraine…the sooner this case can end”.
Johnson earlier told LBC radio that one option was to see if more could be done to prevent the Russian president from accessing his gold reserves, which could prevent people from buying Russian gold. to convert it into hard currency.
The resolve to punish Moscow with massive sanctions will be underscored by an emergency G7 meeting of advanced economies, which will bring Japan into the room with six NATO members.
Then, with a 27-nation European Union summit, countries representing more than half of the world’s gross domestic product will come together in one day.
“Cripple Putin’s war machine. Oil and gas are the heart of it,” Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said. “We should create a special third-party account to prevent the revenues from being used to finance the war.”
The EU – which says it has already taken in some 3.6 million Ukrainian refugees – is only slowly moving away from Russian gas and still depends on Moscow for a large part of its energy needs.
Energy has been largely omitted from the sanctions, the biggest loophole in the measures that have otherwise frozen Russia from world trade to a degree never before attempted on such a large economy.
European leaders are expected to agree at their two-day summit to jointly buy gas, and Brussels is also hoping for a deal with Biden to secure additional supplies of US liquefied natural gas for the next two winters.
(Reporting by Marine Strauss, Benoit Van Overstraeten, Philip Blenkinsop, John Irish, Kate Abnett, Jan Strupczewski, Writing by John Chalmers, Ingrid Melander and Gabriela Baczynska Editing by Peter Graff)
By Jarrett Renshaw and Sabine Siebold