President Volodymyr Zelensky arrived at the NATO headquarters in Brussels on Oct. 11 for a meeting with the alliance's defense ministers in the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, the first time the Ukrainian president will participate in the format in person.
In a short press conference together with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, Zelensky said he planned to discuss a variety of issues, but stressed that one of the priorities remains air defense systems in anticipation of a new campaign of Russian missile strikes against Ukrainian energy infrastructure over winter.
"We have very concrete needs....and we need them in very concrete geographic points on our land," he said.
Zelensky also stressed the need for more artillery support from NATO partners. "The counteroffensive is one direction, but you also need to defend," he said.
"I expect more NATO allies to make further announcements today," said NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg in response to a question from the Kyiv Independent. "We need to sustain and step up their support."
Stoltenberg also emphasized the need for strengthened air defense for Ukraine, stressing that it is crucial for Ukraine's ability to protect its critical infrastructure and economy, as well as enabling Ukraine "to function as a normal country."