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Zelenskyy pleads for aid as Biden, allies begin summits



BRUSSELS (AP) — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called for “military assistance without limitations” as he addressed an emergency NATO summit on Thursday, the first of three urgent meetings U.S. President Joe Biden and world leaders are holding in response to the Russian invasion.

Zelenskyy pleaded for anti-air and anti-ship weapons, asking “is it possible to survive in such a war without this?”

“It feels like we’re in a gray area, between the West and Russia, defending our common values,” Zelenskyy said in his video address to the summit. “This is the scariest thing during a war — not to have clear answers to requests for help!”

A Biden administration official, who requested anonymity to discuss the closed summit, said Zelenskyy did not repeat his demand for a no-fly zone, a demand NATO already has rejected. Western officials fear such a step would lead to direct conflict between NATO and Russia, which Biden described as a potential World War III.

However, in brief opening remarks, as the NATO summit began, Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance must boost its defenses and “respond to a new security reality in Europe.”

“We gather at a critical time for our security,” he told the leaders seated at a large round table. “We are united in condemning the Kremlin’s unprovoked aggression and in our support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

Stoltenberg said the alliance is “determined to continue to impose costs on Russia to bring about the end of this brutal war.”

Over the course of Thursday, the European diplomatic capital is hosting the NATO summit, a gathering of the Group of Seven industrialized nations and a summit of the European Union. Biden will attend all three meetings and hold a news conference afterward.

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