Zelensky visits Baltic allies amid doubts over help for Ukraine | EUROtoday

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy arrived Wednesday in Lithuania forward of visits to Estonia and Latvia, as Ukraine seeks extra assist to bolster its air defenses amid Russia’s intensified missile and drone onslaughts within the newest growth of the 22-month conflict.

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The focus of the Baltic journey, Zelenskyy mentioned on his official Telegram channel, will likely be safety considerations, Ukraine’s hopes to affix the European Union and NATO, and constructing partnerships in drone manufacturing and digital warfare capacities.

The small nations on the Baltic Sea are amongst Ukraine’s staunchest political, monetary and navy supporters.

They have pushed Kyiv’s different Western allies to supply more and more subtle weapons since Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022. Russia’s belligerence towards its neighbor Ukraine has some within the Baltics fearful that they might be Moscow’s subsequent goal.

The three nations had been seized and annexed by Josef Stalin throughout World War II earlier than gaining independence once more with the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991. They joined NATO in 2004, putting themselves below the navy safety of the U.S. and its Western allies.

Watch extraFrance’s arms race: Defence trade on conflict footing

Zelenskyy, in his Telegram message, expressed gratitude for his or her “uncompromising” assist of Ukraine over the previous 10 years, referring to 2014 when Russia’s aggression began with the unlawful annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula.

Russia’s current escalation of missile and drone assaults is stretching Ukraine’s air protection sources, a Ukrainian air drive official mentioned Tuesday, leaving the nation susceptible except it may safe additional weapons provides.

Zelenskyy’s energetic worldwide diplomacy throughout the conflict has been important to keep up stress on pleasant nations to maintain supplying Kyiv with billions of {dollars} in weaponry, from German Leopard tanks to U.S. Patriot missile programs and Storm Shadow cruise missiles from the U.Okay.

However, materials assist has not too long ago tailed off. A plan by the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden to ship to Kyiv billions of {dollars} in additional help is caught in Congress, and Europe’s pledge in March to supply 1 million artillery shells inside 12 months has come up brief, with solely about 300,000 delivered up to now.