Ukraine presses Europe on air defences, seeks Russia’s isolation

KYIV, Oct 13 (Reuters) – President Volodymyr Zelenskiy made a new plea to Western partners to help beef up Ukraine’s air defences on Thursday and called for further steps to isolate Russia.

In comments delivered as NATO defence ministers met in Brussels, Zelenskiy said his country had only about 10% of what it needs in terms of air defences as its cities and energy facilities are attacked by Russian missiles and drones.

“We must protect our skies from Russia’s terror,” he said in a video link with the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Europe’s leading human rights watchdog.

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The United States and other NATO members have already provided Ukraine with weapons but Ukraine has said repeatedly that it needs more.

Zelenskiy again ruled out talks with Russia, saying there could be no diplomacy with “the leadership of a country that kills, captures and does not respect international law.”

“The Russian Federation must be diplomatically isolated in order for Russian society to know and to pay a high price for this aggression; for their society to start pressuring the military and political leadership,” he said.

Russia had denied deliberately targeting civilians in Ukraine. Moscow also denies violating international law and has dismissed allegations by Kyiv that Russian soldiers have carried out war crimes.

Zelenskiy urged the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to do more to press Russia to gain access to Ukrainian prisoners of war.

“Because the whole world is looking at them. They must put pressure on Russia in order to get there,” he said of the ICRC.

Zelenskiy also said the situation in liberated areas of the Kharkiv region in northeastern Ukraine were “just as terrible” as in the towns of Bucha and Irpin, where mass graves were found after Russian troops left. He gave no details and did not make any new allegations against Russian troops.

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Reporting by Max Hunder, Editing by Timothy Heritage

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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