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Zelensky: Ukraine to convene NATO-Ukraine Council to discuss air defense

by Rachel Amran and The Kyiv Independent news desk April 16, 2024 10:58 PM 2 min read
President Volodymyr Zelensky in his office. (Ukraine's Presidential Office)
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Ukraine will send a request to convene a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Council to discuss the defense of Ukrainian skies and supplies of air defense systems, President Volodymyr Zelensky said during his evening address on April 16.

Moscow intensified its aerial attacks on Ukrainian cities and civilians this spring, highlighting growing shortages in Ukraine's air defense systems.

"We have heard a lot over the last two days... about different conflicts in Europe and the Middle East, different levels of threat, and different airspace," Zelensky said.

Iran carried out a massive aerial attack on Israel on April 14, launching 170 drones, 30 cruise missiles, and 120 ballistic missiles, according to Israel's Defense Forces (IDF). The U.S., France, and the U.K. helped down Iranian missiles and drones.

The largest drone attack ever is said to have involved Iranian-designed Shahed drones, which Russia has unleashed against Ukraine daily across the country.

"Although the 'Shahed' drones and ballistic missiles are the same… Different threats of escalation. But are human lives different, are people's values different?" Zelensky asked.

"No, they are not. We value every life equally. We must do so. We must protect them from terror on the same level."

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Kyiv quickly condemned Tehran's attack, with Zelensky saying that "Ukraine knows very well the horror of similar attacks by Russia" involving the same Iranian drones.

The president then urged Western leaders to defend Ukraine in the same way as they protected Israel.

Russia's recent strikes against Ukraine's energy infrastructure destroyed several thermal power plants across the country, including the Trypillia plant, the main electricity supplier to Kyiv, Zhytomyr, and Cherkasy oblasts.

As a result, Kyiv has ramped up calls for more air defense from Western partners. Zelensky said on April 6 that Ukraine needed 25 Patriot air defense systems to cover the country's skies from Russian attacks.

Deploying jets to protect Ukraine would lead to escalation, UK foreign secretary says
Deploying Western fighter jets to protect Ukraine from missile strikes, as was done for Israel on April 14, would lead to “dangerous escalation,” U.K. Foreign Secretary David Cameron said on air on April 15.
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