Nato summit will reveal which members have 'sold out and betrayed us', warns Volodymyr Zelensky

·4 min read
Nato summit will reveal who has 'sold out and betrayed us', warns Volodymyr Zelensky - Evan Vucci /AP
Nato summit will reveal who has 'sold out and betrayed us', warns Volodymyr Zelensky - Evan Vucci /AP

Volodymyr Zelensky urged Western leaders to step up military support to Ukraine and impose a no-fly zone over his country, as he warned Kyiv would soon discover which Western countries have “sold out and betrayed us”, ahead of Thursday’s emergency Nato summit.

Western leaders, who are also holding G7 and EU summit talks in the Belgian capital, are expected to agree to send more equipment to the Ukrainian army to help repel the Russian invaders.

But Ukraine has warned it is fast running out of weapons and on Wednesday urged Germany and France to keep their pledges to send more arms.

Nato will continue to reject the Ukrainian president’s demands for a no-fly zone over his country, while EU leaders are expected to fail to agree to new sanctions on Russian imports of oil and gas.

Mr Zelensky called on the West to take "meaningful steps" to bolster Ukrainian forces, which have successfully bogged down the Russian invasion.

"Freedom must be armed," he said, "The Ukrainian sky has not been made safe from Russian missiles and bombs. We have not received aircraft and modern anti-missile weapons. We have not received tanks, anti-ship equipment."

Britain will double its lethal aid to Ukraine by providing an extra 6,000 missiles, including anti-tank and high explosive weapons, bringing the total to date to more than 10,000, and pledge £25 million for the Ukrainian military, on top of the £400 million already committed in humanitarian and economic aid for the crisis.

Arriving at the Nato summit, Boris Johnson said Vladimir Putin had "already crossed the red line into barbarism" and urged the West to step up sanctions.

He said "It’s now up to Nato to consider together the appalling crisis in Ukraine, the appalling suffering of the people and to see what more we can do to help the people of Ukraine to protect themselves and see what more we can do to tighten the economic vice around the Putin regime.

"It’s very important the we work together to get this thing done as fast as possible. The harder our sanctions, the tougher our economic vice around the Putin regime, the more we can do to help the Ukrainians and the faster this thing can be over."

Nato summit will reveal who has 'sold out and betrayed us', warns Volodymyr Zelensky - HENRY NICHOLLS /AFP
Nato summit will reveal who has 'sold out and betrayed us', warns Volodymyr Zelensky - HENRY NICHOLLS /AFP

Mr Zelensky will address both the Nato and EU summits. Nato leaders, including US President Joe Biden, who is attending all three summits, have ruled out the no-fly zone because it would risk triggering a war with Russia.

Mr Biden will call on allies to step up support to Kyiv and boost sanctions against Moscow.

The Ukrainian president urged Western allies to stay united in the face of Russian pressure. He accused “some partners” of undermining the united front on Russia’s behalf.

“We will see who is a friend, who is a partner and who has sold out and betrayed us,'' he said in the emotional speech. 'Together we should not allow Russia to break anyone in Nato, the EU or G7, to break them and drag them to the side of war.”

Mr Zelensky did not clarify who he suspected of going soft on Vladimir Putin. However Germany and Hungary, which are both dependent on Russian energy, have opposed new EU sanctions on Russian oil and gas.

'The most serious crisis in a generation'

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who reversed decades of policy to ramp up defence spending to more than the Nato target of 2 per cent GDP, has warned such sanctions could trigger a recession in Germany.

Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said allies were meeting to face “the most serious security crisis in a generation.”

He predicted that allies would agree to send more equipment to Ukraine and bolster their defences on the Eastern flank with a further four battlegroups

“The leaders will focus on our support to Ukraine. Allies have provided support to Ukraine for several years and we have stepped up with more military support, financial support, humanitarian support to help Ukraine uphold its fundamental right for self-defence,” he said.

The equipment will include gas masks and protective suits, respirators, hand held detectors and mobile decontamination units to help protect Ukrainian troops against feared chemical and nuclear weapons attacks.

Mr Stoltenberg warned that any chemical attack by Russia would “fundamentally change the nature of the conflict.”

Such an attack would risk the fallout spreading into Nato territory, he said, but refused to say if it would provoke a military response from the Alliance.

He said, “It would be a blatant violation of international law, and it will have wide-spread and severe consequences.”

“There is also a risk that we can see a spread of chemical agents into Nato territory,” he added, “I will not speculate beyond the fact that Nato is always ready to defend, to protect and to react to any type of attack on a Nato allied country.”