(Al Jazeera) Western leaders have unveiled new sanctions against Russia and pledged more humanitarian assistance for Ukraine following triple summits of NATO, the Group of Seven nations, and the European Union in Brussels.
But their offers on Thursday fell short of the more robust military assistance that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said was necessary for his country’s military to fight off invading Russian troops
During the unprecedented trio of summits, the United States and the United Kingdom promised to expand their sanctions against Russia, while US President Joe Biden announced that his country would welcome up to 100,000 Ukrainians and provide an additional $1bn in food, medicine, water and other supplies.
Canada and Finland pledged to step up weapons supplies to Ukraine, while NATO leaders agreed to send equipment to Ukraine to help it protect it against a chemical weapons attack.
Biden also issued a stark warning to Russia that any such attack “would trigger a response in kind”.
The US president said the “single most important thing” for the West and its allies was to stay unified against Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“Why I asked for this NATO meeting today is to be sure that, after a month, we will sustain what we’re doing,” the US leader told reporters. “Not just next month, the following month, but for the remainder of this entire year. That’s what will stop him.”
The Russian invasion, which Putin calls a “special operation”, has killed thousands of people, sent 3.6 million abroad and driven more than half of Ukraine’s children from their homes, according to the United Nations.
But a month into the offensive, Russia has failed to capture any big Ukrainian cities.
‘One percent of all your planes’
Western nations have provided Ukraine with billions of dollars of military hardware, and a US official, who requested anonymity to discuss internal deliberations, told The Associated Press news agency that the leaders were discussing the possibility of providing anti-ship weapons amid concerns that Russia will launch amphibious assaults along the Black Sea coast.
However, the support pledges fell short of satisfying Zelenskyy’s calls for a no-fly zone over Ukraine where Moscow’s bombs are wreaking havoc, as well as a full boycott of Russian energy.
The Ukrainian leader, while thankful for the newly promised help, made clear to the Western allies he needed far more than they are currently willing to give.
“One percent of all your planes, 1 percent of all your tanks,” Zelenskyy asked members of the NATO alliance. “We can’t just buy those. When we will have all this, it will give us, just like you, 100 percent security.”