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Zelensky wants NATO to shoot down Russian missiles

The Ukrainian leader was baffled why his sponsors would not get directly involved

The US and its allies should shoot down Russian missiles, give Ukraine more weapons, and allow Kiev to strike Russia directly, Vladimir Zelensky has told the New York Times.

Zelensky spoke to the US outlet in Kiev, on the last day of his presidential term, which he has sought to extend for the duration of martial law he declared due to the conflict with Russia. He demanded that NATO countries shoot down Russian missiles over Ukraine, wondering if they are too afraid to provoke Moscow.

“So my question is, what’s the problem? Why can’t we shoot them down? Is it defense? Yes. Is it an attack on Russia? No. Are you shooting down Russian planes and killing Russian pilots? No. So what’s the issue with involving NATO countries in the war? There is no such issue,” Zelensky told the Times.

“Shoot down what’s in the sky over Ukraine,” he added. “And give us the weapons to use against Russian forces on the borders.”

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Zelensky details Ukraine’s weapons demands

Zelensky pointed to what the US and the UK did in mid-April, when Iran targeted Israel with a drone and missile barrage. Both the US and the EU have pushed back, saying the two situations were not comparable.

The Ukrainian leader also begged for Patriot air defense systems, asking if he could get seven of them by the NATO summit in Washington.

“Do you think it is too much?” he asked. “For a country that is fighting for freedom and democracy around the world today?”

Zelensky also dismissed any criticism of Ukrainian democracy, given the indefinite postponement of both parliamentary and presidential elections, by announcing that Kiev “doesn’t need to prove anything about democracy to anyone, because Ukraine and its people are proving it through their war, without words, without unnecessary rhetoric.”

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Zelensky blames ‘whole world’ for Ukraine’s failures in Kharkov

With Russian troops advancing all along the frontline, Zelensky and his aides have ramped up calls for more of everything – Patriot air defense systems and F-16 fighters in particular – but also demanded the lifting of restrictions on use of Western-provided weapons to strike deep inside Russia. 

The US and its allies have struggled to maintain the legal fiction that their missiles can only target Russian territory that Ukraine claims as its own – i.e. Crimea, Zaporozhye, Kherson, Donetsk and Lugansk – though Western-supplied weapons have been used against Belgorod Region on multiple occasions, including the Christmas market massacre.

 

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