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Davos 2023-Ukraine“s Zelenskiy says tank supplies should come quicker


Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy addresses the World Economic Forum (WEF) via video link, in Davos, Switzerland, January 18, 2023. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy told the World Economic Forum on Wednesday that Western supplies of tanks and air defence units should come more quickly and be delivered faster than Russia was able to carry out its own attacks.

Zelenskiy spoke by video link before Western allies meet at the Ramstein air base in Germany on Friday with the focus on whether Berlin will allow its Leopard battle tanks to be supplied to Kyiv to help drive out Russian forces.

“The supplying of Ukraine with air defence systems must outpace Russia’s next missile attacks,” Zelenskiy said. “The supplies of western tanks must outpace another invasion of Russian tanks.”

Almost 11 months since Russia invaded its neighbour, Moscow’s forces hold swathes of Ukraine’s east and south. The battlefield momentum has been with Kyiv for months, but Moscow has expended huge resources to try to advance in the east.

“Daily, there are fights in the east. We are standing strongly, resolutely,” Zelenskiy said.

At the forum, he was asked whether he was worried about his own personal security after his interior minister was killed in a helicopter crash earlier on Wednesday. He said he was not worried.

“My views haven’t changed. We need ammunition, I’m in no hurry anywhere,” he said.

Before he delivered his address, Zelenskiy asked the forum’s participants to take part in a minute of silence to remember the 14 people killed in the helicopter crash. They included the minister, other senior officials, the crew and a child.

He accused Russia of exporting “terror”, pointing to a Russian missile attack that destroyed an apartment building and killed at least 45 people. Moscow has blamed that civilian attack on Ukrainian air defences.