Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called on Western nations Thursday to provide more money to help Ukraine's military keep fighting nearly 5 1/2 months after Russia invaded its neighbor.
“The sooner we stop Russia, the sooner we can feel safe,” Zelenskyy said while addressing defense leaders at a Denmark conference aimed at strengthening financing for weapons, training and demining work in his country.
“We need armaments, munitions for our defense," he added, speaking via a live link from Ukraine.
The conference in Copenhagen is a follow-up to an April meeting at a U.S. air base in Germany that established the U.S.-led Ukraine Defense Contact Group, which coordinates international military support for Ukraine.
Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov, who attended the conference in Denmark's capital, told journalists that acquiring more fighter planes is the country's priority right now. “In the first stage, we need fighters. After that, de-mining,” Reznikov said. Denmark is co-hosting the daylong conference in Copenhagen with Britain and Ukraine. British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said the goal of the event was securing “concrete steps.” Before the conference started, the Danish government said it would give Ukraine an extra 820 million kroner ($113 million), which would bring Denmark’s total contribution to the war effort to more than 3 billion kroner ($413 million).
Part of the money would pay for 130 Danish troops to help train Ukrainian forces in Britain over the coming months. “We will not let you down,” Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said as she opened the conference. The Kyiv School of Economics released a report Wednesday assessing the cost of war damage to Ukraine’s infrastructure at more than $110 billion. The report said 304 bridges and more than 900 health care facilities were either destroyed or damaged.