Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky lamented NATO’s perceived unwillingness to embrace his nation and requested additional support from the alliance on Wednesday.
He claimed to be the lone defender of western civilisation against Russian exploitation and stated that immediate access to weapons, money, and political support was necessary.
According to the AP, Zelensky made this assertion when laying out his supporters’ wish list during his video link address to the first plenary session of the NATO summit in Madrid, Spain.
He forewarned the assembled world leaders that they would either have to help Ukraine fight Russia or “face a delayed war between Russia and yourselves.”
The president also asked directly for more modern artillery systems while he bemoaned that NATO has not more fully embraced Ukraine.
“Hasn’t our contribution to defending Europe and the entire civilisation been insufficient? What else is necessary?” Zelensky asked.
The question is “who is next?” he posited before adding: This is not a war being waged by Russia against only Ukraine. This is a war for the right to dictate conditions in Europe – for what the future world order will be like.
The 30 NATO leaders meeting in Madrid heard directly from Zelenskyy as NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg acknowledged the alliance is “in the midst of the most serious security crisis we have faced since the Second World War.”
U.S. President Joe Biden, whose country provides the bulk of NATO’s military power, said the summit would send “an unmistakable message … that NATO is strong and united.”
“We’re stepping up. We’re proving that NATO is more needed now than it ever has been,” said Biden, who has already authorized the transfer of billions in U.S. taxpayer dollars to Ukraine.
Biden announced a significant increase in the American military’s presence in Europe, including the establishment of a permanent American facility in Poland, the stationing of two additional Navy warships in Rota, Spain, and the deployment of two additional F35 squadrons to the United Kingdom.
As always, funding is a problem. Only nine of NATO’s thirty members presently spend the 2% of GDP on defence that is the organisation’s goal.