The British and French defense ministers came to Kyiv Thursday to ask Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky what “he needs to win.”

“We discussed further defense cooperation and steps to strengthen Ukraine’s air defense,” Zelensky Tweeted, Sept. 28.

The need for strong air defense was highlighted by a massive overnight drone attack on Wednesday. Russia launched 39 drones at Ukraine – 31 of which, the Ukrainian military was able to intercept – spokeswoman for the Ukrainian southern military command Nataliya Gumenyuk said.

Ukraine has repeatedly asked for more Western weapons, including longer-range missiles, to help break through Russian positions and launch strikes deeper within Russian-controlled territory.

The visits came ahead of Kyiv’s first Defense Industries Forum, where Ukrainian officials were set to meet representatives from over 160 defense firms and 26 countries.


“As Ukraine retakes its territory, UK support remains unwavering. We will work tirelessly to bring our partners together to help Ukraine defeat Putin’s illegal invasion,” British Defense Minister Grant Shapps Tweeted.

“I am profoundly grateful to the UK for all the financial, humanitarian, and military support, including crucial long-range capabilities,” Zelensky Tweeted.

According to the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, after the US and Germany – which it reports have respectively committed $44.3 billion and $18 billion to Ukraine – the United Kingdom is the third largest donor of military assistance, having committed $6.9 billion.

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An AFP reporter also saw French Defense Minister Sebastien Lecornu arrive alongside several defense industry officials.

According to the Kiel Institute, France is the 15th largest supporter of Ukraine’s military, contributing about half a billion dollars.

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