Zelenskyy urges 1% of NATO aircraft, tanks, weaponry to be deployed in Ukraine

This is what is 'covered with dust' at storage facilities of European 'partners,' says Ukrainian president.

Zelenskyy urges 1% of NATO aircraft, tanks, weaponry to be deployed in Ukraine

Ukraine’s president urged his country's European "partners" late Saturday to deploy 1% of all NATO aircraft, tanks and weaponry for the country's defense.

Speaking on strengthening the "common security" of all European countries, Volodymyr Zelenskyy in a video address stressed that the "price of this security" includes planes, tanks, anti-missile defense systems and anti-ship weaponry for Ukraine.

"This is what our partners have. This is what is covered with dust at their storage facilities. After all, this is all for freedom not only in Ukraine -- this is for freedom in Europe. Because it cannot be acceptable for everyone on the continent if the Baltic states, Poland, Slovakia and the whole of Eastern Europe are at risk of a clash with the Russian invaders," he said.

"At risk only because they left only 1% of all NATO aircraft and 1% of all NATO tanks somewhere in their hangars. One percent! We did not ask for more. And we do not ask for more. And we have already been waiting for 31 days!" he said.

Questioning who runs the Euro-Atlantic community, Zelenskyy said: "Is it still Moscow because of intimidation?"

He stressed that the "partners" need to step up assistance to Ukraine because the matter was the security of Europe.

Thanking the Ukrainian Armed Forces, all the defenders and the National Guard, Zelenskyy said everyone in Ukraine has united and has been devoting all their energy to the defense of the state for more than a month.

Addressing the defenders of the besieged city of Mariupol in southeastern Ukraine, the country's leader hailed their determination, heroism and resilience.

"I am grateful to each of them! I wish at least a percentage of their courage to those who have been thinking for 31 days how to transfer a dozen or two planes or tanks," he said. "Russian troops are destroying everything that makes us a nation but they will be held accountable for that.”

Common security

Zelenskyy said on Saturday he spoke twice with his Polish counterpart Andrzej Duda about people who found protection in Poland and the need to strengthen "common security" for all Europeans.

He said the top Ukrainian delegation met earlier in Poland with their American colleagues, who were joined by US President Joe Biden.

"As I was informed, the negotiations concerned, in particular, these vital interests, which I mentioned above. Concerned what we really need while this ping-pong continues -- who should give us planes and other protection tools and how. Ukraine cannot shoot down Russian missiles using shotguns, machine guns, which are too much in supplies," he said.

Zelenskyy said it is "impossible to unblock" Mariupol without a sufficient number of tanks, other armored vehicles and aircraft, and there are many civilians who are dying in the blockade.

"The United States knows that. All European politicians know. We told everyone. And this should be known as soon as possible by as many people on Earth as possible. So that everyone understands who and why was simply afraid to prevent this tragedy. Afraid to simply make a decision. Vital decision," he said.

He underlined that Russian troops are "deliberately" killing civilians, destroying residential neighborhoods, targeting shelters and hospitals, schools and universities, churches and Holocaust memorials.

"Ukraine's position must be heard. I want to emphasize: this is not only our position. This is the position of the vast majority of Europe's population, the majority of Europeans," noted Zelenskyy.

The Russia-Ukraine war, which began Feb. 24, has met international outrage, with the EU, US and UK, among others, implementing tough financial sanctions on Moscow.

At least 1,081 civilians have been killed in Ukraine and 1,707 injured, according to UN estimates, while noting that the true figure is likely far higher.

More than 3.7 million Ukrainians have also fled to neighboring countries, including over 2 million to Poland, with millions more displaced inside Ukraine, according to the UN refugee agency.

Hüseyin Demir

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