Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told G7 leaders on Tuesday that Vladimir Putin still had “room for escalation” after two days of widespread aerial strikes on cities across Ukraine, including Kyiv.
“The Russian leader, who is now in the final stage of his reign, still has room for further escalation,” Zelensky said.
This is “a threat to all of us”, he said.
He also called on his Western allies to help Ukraine fund an air defence system after dozens of Russian attacks knocked out power facilities across the country.
“I am asking you to strengthen the overall effort to help financially with the creation of an air shield for Ukraine. Millions of people will be grateful to the Group of Seven for such assistance,” he said during the video address to G7 leaders.
He said that Ukraine for a second day in a row was suffering from “massive” Russian missile strikes and said Moscow’s forces had fired more than 84 missiles Monday and another 28 Tuesday.
But he also said those attacks had been augmented with “dozens of different drones”.
He also pointed to a heightened threat from Belarus and said Russia is seeking to drag its ally into the war, calling for international monitors to survey the Ukraine-Belarus border.
“Russia is trying to directly draw Belarus into this war, playing a provocation that we are allegedly preparing an attack on this country,” he said.
“A mission of international observers may be stationed on the border of Ukraine and Belarus to monitor the security situation,” he added, calling on diplomats to work out the details of a deployment with G7 backing.
Russia used Belarus as a launching pad for its February 24 invasion and Minsk has raised fears it could directly intervene by announcing the deployment of a joint Russian-Belarusian force.
Minsk said Wednesday the force was purely defensive and that it would monitor ex-Soviet Belarus’ border.