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Zelensky urges NATO to shoot down Russian missiles, give more weapons to Ukraine

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks during an interview with AFP at the Presidential Office in Kiev, on May 17, 2024. (Photo by AFP)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has called on the US-led NATO military alliance to shoot down Russian missiles over his country and to provide Kiev with more weapons against Moscow. 

“What’s the problem?” Zelensky said in a New York Times interview on Monday in Kiev. “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.”

Till now, the US and its allies have been providing Zelensky with weapons and ammunition, but Western leaders have resisted direct US-led NATO forces engagement in the Ukraine-Russia war.

However, Zelensky drew a comparison to how the US and its allies had reportedly helped the Israeli regime when it came under Iran's retaliatory strikes in April and urged NATO forces to extend similar military support to Kiev.

The Ukrainian leader, who claimed he was confused as to why his Western sponsors would not get directly involved in the war with Russia, asked his backers once more to increase the volume and speed of arms delivery to Kiev.

“Shoot down what’s in the sky over Ukraine and give us the weapons to use against Russian forces on the borders,” he insisted, asking the interviewer, “Do you think it is too much?”

In the meantime, Russian troops have been advancing all along the frontline, prompting Zelensky and his aides to intensify their calls for more weapons, ammunition, and everything else in their arsenal, including Patriot air missile systems and F-16 fighter jets, in particular.

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Zelensky also said he had appealed to senior US officials to allow Ukraine to fire US missiles and other weaponry delivered to Kiev deep inside Russia.

He claimed the ability to shoot at targets deep inside Russia would boost Kiev in its war against Moscow.

The NATO forces claim they remain opposed to Kiev's use of Western-supplied missiles to strike targets inside Russia other than the regions Ukraine claims as its own, including Crimea, Zaporizhia, Kherson, Donetsk and Lugansk which joined the Russian Federation by holding referendums.

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Russia launched the “special military operation” in Ukraine in February 2022.

Since Russia launched its operation in 2022, the West has given Kiev all-out support, including political support and substatial weaponry, while imposing unprecedented sanctions on Russian officials and entities.

Russia has repeatedly warned the continued supply of weaponry to Ukraine will only prolong the war.

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