Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky appealed for badly needed air-defence systems at the start of a tour of Baltic states Wednesday, warning that Western hesitation on aid for Ukraine was emboldening Russia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin will not stop at Ukraine, he said, during an unannounced visit to the Lithuanian capital Vilnius.

Zelensky was on the first stage of a tour of staunch Baltic allies Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, as he seeks to bolster wavering support among other Western backers.

All three nations are former Soviet republics that are now EU and NATO members.

Ukraine was "sorely lacking" modern air-defence systems amid renewed aerial attacks from Russia nearly two years after Moscow's invasion, said Zelensky. 

Putin "is not going to stop," he said. "He wants to occupy us completely.

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"And sometimes, the insecurity of partners regarding financial and military aid to Ukraine only increases Russia's courage and strength.

"He (Putin) won't finish this (war), until we all finish him together," Zelensky said, adding "Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Moldova may be next".

The Baltic tour marks Zelensky's first official trip abroad this year.

Ukraine has come under intense Russian shelling in recent weeks, retaliating with strikes on Russia's border city of Belgorod. 

"In recent days, Russia hit Ukraine with a total of 500 devices: we destroyed 70 percent of them," Zelensky said.

Zelensky Calls on Southeast Europe to Unite With Ukraine Against Putin
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Zelensky Calls on Southeast Europe to Unite With Ukraine Against Putin

Addressing a summit in the capital of Albania, which gathered leaders from the countries of southeast Europe, the Ukrainian president spoke about further cooperation.

"Air-defence systems are (the) number one (thing) that we lack."

'Until victory' 

Zelensky has urged allies to keep military support flowing and held in-person talks with officials from the United States, Germany and Norway last month.

But an EU aid package worth 50 billion euros ($55 billion) has been stuck in Brussels following a veto by Hungary, while the US Congress remains divided on sending additional aid to Ukraine.

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda on Wednesday vowed to support Ukraine "until victory".

He said the Baltic state would send M577 armoured vehicles to Ukraine next month, part of a previously announced 200-million-euro package of military aid. 

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Lithuania is the biggest donor to Ukraine in terms of GDP, according to the German-based Kiel Institute for the World Economy. 

The Baltic state has earmarked government support amounting to nearly 1.4 percent of its GDP, Kiel's Ukraine aid tracker showed.

Estonia and Latvia were ranked in second and fifth place, with aid committed totalling 1.3 and 1.1 percent of GDP.

'Crucial times' 

In Estonia, Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said Wednesday: "We must support Ukraine as long as it is needed. These are crucial times, and we need to keep our focus."

Estonian Foreign Minister Margus Tsahkna has said Tallinn was ready "to allocate 0.25 percent of its GDP to military aid to Ukraine" over the next four years.

"It's way cheaper to support Ukraine now compared to the price the international community would have to pay if Russia would reach the goals of this merciless aggression," said Tsahkna.

Latvian Defence Minister Andris Spruds said last week that Riga was committed to "continuously" providing military equipment and training for Ukrainian soldiers.

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Latvia trained around 3,000 Ukrainian troops last year, its defence ministry said. 

Zelensky last visited Vilnius for a NATO summit in July, where he secured promises of unwavering support to Kyiv from Western leaders including US President Joe Biden.

But aid promised to Ukraine between August and October 2023 fell almost 90 percent from the same period in 2022, reaching its lowest point since the start of the war, according to a Kiel Institute survey from December. 

"The outlook is unclear, since the largest pending aid commitment -- by the European Union -- has not been finally approved, and aid by the US has been on the decline," the institute said.

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Comments (5)

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pooty boy the bunker bandit
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pooty boy did peace deals with other small countries when he got his butt kicked hard,those peace deals lasted for about six months,pooty boy rebuilt his army and came back and invaded again and took over those smaller countries,in fairy land you could wave your magic wand and do a peace deal but this is putin and he really cant be trusted.off to the hauge with putin

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pooty boy failed
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give Zelensky everything he needs to stop that evil dictator pooty boy,stop having feel good meetings,send him ammo and lots of it.

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pooty is still naughty
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pooty boy is a crazy nut job,dictators like putin never stop until they are stopped look at pooty boys past,he did conflicts all over the place,even went to africa to raid their diamonds,history tells us only force works to shut them down,sit back and watch and he will just continue with his illegal invasions,he needs to be captured and taken to the hauge for war crimes

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John
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One thing that resonates with me about President Zelensky's statements are they constitute common sense based on historical precedent.

What some NATO members are hoping to achieve; by forcing a stalemate wth a ruthless authoritarian with a history of illegal activities aimed at undermining their own democracies....well.... that baffles me.

Given time afforded by a "peace" treaty, putin will just rebuild his war chest. Given his propensity to ignore all environment / humanitarian regulations that impede western commerce, he will rebuild weapon stockpiles rapidly. The west will not; again thinking erroneously that there is a now "peace deal" (aka 'useless peice of paper' when one party is a tyrant) to prevent another war. They will think this agreement means they no longer need a strong military and they will instead blow their budgets on frivolous pet projects.

New allied government administrations always come in starry eyed thinking that talking sanely with an autocratic despot will lead to their conversion towards becoming a productive part of global society. They will not. Such despots are driven by darker goals most decent folks can't fathom. In a few years we will be back throwing more democratic lives and money at the same problem....or fail in doing that sufficiently and risk forfeiting our freedoms. Repeat and rinse.

Finish the job. A house without a roof is not sanctuary.

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pooty has been very naughty
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these words go down in history,do you need a ride out of Ukraine,no give me ammo,russian warship go f--k yourself and badaboom and another kabooms,just to name a few.this is not a time to be asleep at the wheel,its really not

Tony Garcia
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@pooty has been very naughty, fuck you asshole! Nobody gives a shit about you or your stupid opinion. Shut the fuck up and go suck some commie dick.

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