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Zelensky pleads for military support in emergency G7 meeting following Russian air strikes on Ukraine

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After a particularly brutal string of aerial attacks on Ukrainian civilian targets by Russia Monday, leaders from the Group of 7 (G7) held an emergency virtual meeting on Tuesday, October 11. In this meeting, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the council and asked for more military assistance to defend his country.

Over the past two weeks, Russian air strikes have killed at least 73 people in and around Zaporizhzhia, a city in southern Ukraine. At least 200 more have been wounded in the attacks. Over the past seven days, the city has endured nearly nightly attacks. One of the most recent strikes targeted a school, a car dealership, and a medical facility and took the lives of five people.

In his address, President Zelensky pointed out, “We cannot know who and what will be targeted by Russian missiles.” To counter these destructive attacks, he stated that Ukraine needs an ample supply of “modern and effective air defense systems.” Specifically, Zelensky is seeking equipment to defend his country against Shahed-136 drones. Per Ukrainian intelligence, Russia has ordered 2,400 of these “kamikaze” weapons from Iran, which can devastate ground targets.

G7 leaders pledged “undeterred and steadfast” assistance for Ukraine, including military and financial aid. The council also reassured Zelensky that Russia would face “severe consequences” if biological, chemical, or nuclear weapons were used. NATO is “closely monitoring” Russian nuclear forces and has not seen any changes in its activity. However, Jens Stoltenberg, NATO’s secretary-general, confirmed a nuclear-deterrent exercise would take place next week as planned. He noted that canceling the action would send “absolutely the wrong signal” to Moscow.

In addition to requesting more support for Ukraine, Zelensky officially submitted the nation’s bid to name the besieged city of Odesa as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. He made a passionate case for this distinction, as he said, “We must provide a clear signal that the world will not turn a blind eye to the destruction of our common history, our common culture, our common heritage.”

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