U.S. President Joe Biden promised continued security assistance “including advanced air defense systems” to Ukraine late on Monday, following Russian missile attacks targeting civilians and energy infrastructures.
Biden spoke with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy to express “his condemnation of Russia’s missile strikes across Ukraine,” according to a White House statement after the call.
On his Telegram channel, Zelenskyy called air defense “the No. 1 priority in our defense cooperation” with the U.S.
The White House did not give details on what the renewed pledge for air defense systems would precisely entail.
Kyiv has been asking for more air defense weapons for weeks. The requests are becoming ever more pressing as Russian troops switch to more brutal and indiscriminate tactics now that they are led in Ukraine by General Sergey Surovikin, notorious for his brutality in Syria.
Air defense is likely to be the main issue at hand later this week during the next so-called “Ramstein format” meeting of the U.S.-led Ukraine Defense Contact Group, where senior defense officials from across the globe will gather in Brussels.
“The best response to Russian missile terror is the supply of anti-aircraft and anti-missile systems to Ukraine — protect the sky over Ukraine,” Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said Monday. “This will protect our cities and our people. This will protect the future of Europe. Evil must be punished.”
Zelenskyy also spoke with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday, discussing air defense with his French counterpart.
Leaders from the G7 group of advanced economies will meet Zelenskyy during a virtual meeting on Tuesday afternoon.