President Volodymyr Zelensky pressed a NATO summit Thursday to flood weapons into Ukraine and Western allies responded with new sanctions against Russia, promises of military aid, and discussion of expelling Moscow from the international G20 body.
As battles raged across Ukraine, with television footage showing a large Russian warship ablaze at dockside near the southern city of Mariupol, Zelensky addressed the emergency NATO summit and a G7 leaders meeting by video link.
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He said the West should provide “all the weapons we need” to “prevent the deaths of Ukrainians from Russian strikes, from Russian occupation.”
Kicking off a day of intense diplomacy, US President Joe Biden made clear that the Western alliance was listening.
“NATO has never been more united,” Biden said.
And after Zelensky said there was a “real” chance of Russian President Vladimir Putin resorting to chemical warfare, Biden told reporters “we will respond if he uses it.”
Biden noted that under his presidency the United States has pledged $2 billion in weapons to Ukraine. He announced a new commitment to “more than $1 billion in humanitarian assistance,” as well as promising to welcome 100,000 of the nearly 3.7 million refugees fleeing the country.
After the United States announced new sanctions, including targeting Russian politicians, Biden said the West was in it for the long haul, intent on “increasing the pain” on Moscow.
Biden intensified the effort to ostracize Putin s Russia with a call to exclude Moscow from the G20.
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“That was raised today,” Biden told reporters, adding that if the group of 20 countries does not agree, then he would press for Ukraine to be allowed to join.
In his address, Zelensky said that Russia was using phosphorus bombs, which cause severe burns, conducting indiscriminate shelling of civilians, and could resort to “full-scale use” of chemical weapons.
Ukraine has already lived through “a month of heroic resistance. A month of the darkest suffering,” he said. “To save people and our cities, Ukraine needs military assistance without restrictions.”