Ukraine said on Thursday the question of securing fighter jets and long-range weapons had been “resolved,” hinting at one of the most dramatic shifts in Western support since the war began, as President Volodymyr Zelenskiy met EU leaders in Brussels.
“The question of long-range weaponry and fighter jets for Ukraine has been resolved,” Andriy Yermak, chief of the presidential staff, wrote on the Telegram messaging app. “Details still to follow.”
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Zelenskiy received a warm welcome from European leaders and a standing ovation from the European Parliament on Thursday in Brussels, where he sought more weapons to fend off Russia and a quicker path toward EU membership.
Addressing a summit of the 27 leaders of EU countries, he also called for tighter sanctions on Moscow and punishment for Russian leaders responsible for the attack on Ukraine nearly a year ago.
“Free Europe cannot be imagined without free Ukraine,” he told the leaders.
“I am grateful to all of you who are helping, grateful to everyone who understands how much Ukraine right now needs these possibilities. We need artillery guns, shells for them, modern tanks, long-range missiles, modern aircraft.”
Zelenskiy attended the summit a day after meeting British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in London and having dinner with France’s Emmanuel Macron and Germany’s Olaf Scholz in Paris on just his second known trip outside Ukraine since the invasion.
A push for advanced Western fighter jets has been the main theme of his European tour. In London, Sunak pledged British training for Ukrainian pilots to fly NATO jets, although he stopped short of promising to supply them.
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The Kremlin said it would be Ukrainians who suffered if Britain or other Western countries supplied fighter jets to Kyiv, and that the line between indirect and direct Western involvement in the war was disappearing.
“One can only express regret in this regard, and say that such actions … lead to an escalation of tension, prolong the conflict and make the conflict more and more painful for Ukraine,” he added.