Ukraine leader asks G7 for air defense weapons after Russian strikes

  • G7 leaders to discuss Ukraine later on Tuesday
  • It is expected to review the request for Kyiv air defense systems
  • It may also warn Belarus against closer involvement.
  • Russia says it will respond to more Western aid

Kyiv, Oct 11 (Reuters) – President Volodymyr Zelenskiy called on leaders of the G7 group of nations on Tuesday to urgently supply Ukraine with air defense weapons, after Russia rained cruise missiles on cities around the world. country in a new escalation of the war. .

More missile strikes killed at least one person in the southeastern city of Zaporizhzhia and left parts of the western city of Lviv without power, local officials said. Air raid sirens sounded earlier in Ukraine for a second day.

Other parts of the country remained in the dark after Monday’s cruise missile strikes that authorities say killed 19 people in the largest airstrikes since the start of the conflict.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin, under internal pressure to escalate the seven-month war as his forces have lost ground since early September, said he ordered the strikes as revenge for an explosion that damaged Russia’s bridge to annexed Crimea.

Kyiv and its allies condemned the attacks, which mainly hit civilian infrastructure such as power plants, but also hit parks, tourist sites and busy streets at rush hour.

Russia has annexed new tracts of Ukraine, mobilized hundreds of thousands of Russians to fight and repeatedly threatened to use nuclear weapons in recent weeks, raising alarm in the West. A European diplomat said the NATO defense alliance was considering calling a virtual summit to consider its response.

The White House said US President Joe Biden and other G7 leaders met virtually to discuss what else they can do to support Ukraine and heard from Zelenskiy, who called air defense systems his “number one priority.” 1″.

Biden has already promised more air defenses, a promise Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said would prolong the conflict.

“The mood of this summit is already obvious and predictable. The confrontation will continue,” Peskov told reporters.

The wide avenues of the capital Kyiv were largely deserted after air-raid sirens blared at the start of the morning rush hour at the same time Russian missiles struck on Monday. Residents took refuge again in the depths of the underground subway, where the trains still ran.

Viktoriya Moshkivski, 35, and her family were among hundreds of people waiting for the go-ahead at the Zoloti Vorota station, near a park where a missile blasted a crater next to a playground on Monday.

“(Putin) thinks that if he scares the population, he can ask for concessions, but he’s not scaring us. He’s pissing us off,” she said as her children Timur, 5, and Rinat, 3, sat next to her. sideways in a sleeping bag, the youngest playing with a King Kong action figure.


Russia said it continued to launch long-range airstrikes against Ukraine’s military and energy infrastructure on Tuesday, although the strikes did not appear as intense as the day before.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said the main targets were power facilities in a campaign to make life unbearable for civilians that had been planned well in advance.

“You have hit many yesterday and you have hit the same and new today,” he wrote on Twitter. Hundreds of settlements around Kyiv, Lviv and elsewhere were still without power on Tuesday, Deputy Interior Minister Yevheniy Yenin said at a briefing.

The governor of the southern city of Mykolayiv said Russia was firing enough to keep people in shelters. “What is this but terror?” he told him on national television.

In Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine’s sixth largest city, apartment blocks have been attacked at night at least three times in the last week, killing civilians while they slept. Moscow has denied intentionally targeting them.

The city remained under Ukrainian control after Russia occupied most of the surrounding province, among four partially occupied regions Moscow claims to have annexed this month.

In an overnight video from the scene of one of the Kyiv attacks, Zelenskiy promised Ukraine would keep fighting.

“We will do everything possible to strengthen our armed forces. We will make the battlefield more painful for the enemy.”


G7 leaders are also expected to issue a warning to Belarus, Moscow’s closest ally, after Minsk said on Monday it was deploying soldiers with Russian forces near Ukraine in response to what it called a threat from Kyiv and their western allies.

Belarus, whose troops have not yet crossed into Ukraine, could face further sanctions if it becomes more involved, French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna told French radio.

Russia violated the rules of war with Monday’s attacks, he added.

Moscow has accused the West of escalating the conflict by supporting Ukraine.

“We warn and hope that they realize the danger of uncontrolled escalation in Washington and other Western capitals,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov was quoted as saying by the RIA news agency on Tuesday.

The director of Britain’s spy agency GCHQ, Jeremy Fleming, said he would expect to see signs if Russia was considering deploying nuclear weapons but its ground forces were running low on supplies.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Russia would not reject a meeting between Putin and Biden at an upcoming G20 meeting and would consider the proposal if received.

Putin met Tuesday with the president of the United Arab Emirates, a member of the group of oil producers known as OPEC+ that shunned the United States last week by announcing deep production cuts.

The state news agency WAM had said that President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan would push for a “military de-escalation”. The Kremlin said that on Thursday, Putin would meet with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, who is proposing to organize peace talks.

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Reuters bureau reports; Written by Stephen Coates, Andrew Osborn, Peter Graff; Edited by Philippa Fletcher and Nick Macfie

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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