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Ukraine’s Zelensky discusses further Nato support with Donald Tusk

Poland’s Prime Minister Donald Tusk, right, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during their meeting in Warsaw (Czarek Sokolowski/AP)
Poland’s Prime Minister Donald Tusk, right, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during their meeting in Warsaw (Czarek Sokolowski/AP)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that he expects the upcoming Nato summit to provide specific steps to strengthen his country’s air defences against Russia, hours after a Russian missile attack killed at least 31 people and wounded 154 others in various locations, including a children’s hospital in Kyiv.

Mr Zelensky met with Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk in Warsaw to discuss further support for Ukraine from Nato, as well as signing a bilateral cooperation and defence document.

“We would like to see greater resolve in our partners and hear resolute responses to these attacks,” Mr Zelensky told a joint news conference, stressing that Ukraine will take its own retaliatory steps.

“I can see a possibility for our partners to use their air defence systems in a way to hit .. the missiles that are carrying out attacks on our country,” Zelenskyy said.

Mr Zelensky stopped in Warsaw en route to a Nato summit, which begins Tuesday in Washington, marking the Western defence alliance’s 75th anniversary.

Leaders are expected to discuss ways of providing reliable long-term security aid and military training for Ukraine more than two years after Russia’s full-scale invasion.

At the start of the news conference with Mr Tusk, Mr Zelensky asked those gathered to observe a moment of silence for the victims of Monday’s airstrikes.

Mr Tusk offered every available form of help for the children evacuated from the bombed hospital.

The two leaders signed a co-operation and defence agreement that spells out Poland’s continued support for Ukraine in defence, especially air defence, energy security for Ukraine, and Poland’s participation in reconstruction.

A legion of Ukrainian volunteers currently abroad will be trained in Poland with the aim of joining the defence effort on Ukraine’s soil, Mr Zelensky said.

Poland will be represented at the Nato summit by President Andrzej Duda, who was scheduled to meet with Mr Zelenksy later on Monday.

Poland is among the staunchest supporters of Ukraine and has offered around 4 billion dollars (£3.1 billion) in military equipment, training and other items for defence. It is also offering humanitarian, political and economic support.

An initiative likely to be endorsed at the three-day summit is Nato taking more responsibility for co-ordinating training, and military and financial assistance for Ukraine’s forces, instead of the US.

Europeans also are talking about giving Ukrainians a greater presence within Nato bodies, though there is no consensus yet on Ukraine joining the alliance.

Mr Tusk said that Poland will “continue to advocate among our allies that this path for Ukraine to reach the EU and NATO membership should be as fast as possible”.