Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky appeared this Tuesday by surprise in Brussels to participate in the meeting of NATO defense ministers. The transfer, the first to the Alliance headquarters since the invasion, had not been announced for security reasons, as is always the case. But what is unusual is for Zelensky to leave the country for something that They usually do those who are below him in the pecking order.
The trip, just a few days after returning from Granada, where he also participated in the meeting of the European Political Community along with 50 other continental leaders, is due to the extreme concern that is plaguing Kiev these days, and not only at the prospect of a new winter of attacks and power outages. Because of the disturbing messages that come from the United States and its budget negotiations. For doubts and misgivings among more and more allies, from Hungary to Poland via Slovakia, which after the recent elections plans to freeze the shipment of weapons and ammunition. And above all because of the fear that Ukrainians have that the brewing war in Gaza will end up attracting attention, not in the media, that too, but in foreign ministries around the planet, starting with Washington.
“President Zelensky, dear Volodymyr, it is a great honor and privilege to welcome you back here at NATO headquarters and to return the warm welcome you extended to me when I visited Kiev just a couple of weeks ago. Your leadership, the bravery of The Ukrainian armed forces and the determination of the Ukrainian people continue to impress and inspire us all. As you know, we will stand by you and provide support to Ukraine, because this is really important for all of NATO. Your fight is our fight. Your safety is our safety and your values are ours. We will support Ukraine for as long as necessary,” he said. assured the general secretary, Jens Stoltenberg, at the beginning of the meeting.
“We have very specific things to ask for. The priority is air defense systems, we need them for very specific geographical points in our territory, to save the energy networks, the people and the grain route. It is also important that we have long-range missiles or long-distance weapons. It doesn’t matter what they are called, the problem is getting them. We need them for one reason only: to expel Russia from our land,” the president said. Likewise, he will take advantage of the occasion to demand that Belgium stop putting obstacles in the rounds of sanctions against Russia for his desire to protect the diamond trading business, and to insist on the need for combat aircraft. “Long-range missiles are also important. We especially need them to push Russia out of our territory,” Zelensky alleges. His third priority for defending himself is “artillery, artillery, artillery.” To this recurring request, Stoltenberg has responded that NATO is working to increase production, with contracts worth 2.4 billion euros of which 1,000 million have already been signed for projectiles of very specific calibers.
Three European countries have committed to delivering more than 50 F-16 fighters, but kyiv needs more and as soon as possible. Last week, in Granada, a few other European partners, including Spain, committed to supplying more weapons or defensive systems, such as the six Hawk launchers that our country has promised to send as soon as possible. “Putin is preparing to use winter as a weapon of war, to attack the energy system, gas infrastructure and we must avoid it,” said the Secretary General of the Alliance, also mentioning the alleged sabotage suffered by the gas pipeline connecting Estonia with Finland.