KYIV, UKRAINE - Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy appealed to Western allies Thursday for more money and munitions to keep fighting Russia 5½ months after Moscow invaded.
'The sooner we stop Russia, the sooner we can feel safe,' Zelenskyy, via a live link from Ukraine, told Western defense leaders meeting in Copenhagen. 'We need armaments, munitions for our defense.'
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, demining,' Reznikov said.
The Copenhagen conference followed an April meeting at a U.S. air base in Germany that established the U.S.-led Ukraine Defense Contact Group to coordinate international military support for Ukraine.
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks via video-link during the Donor Conference for Ukraine at Christiansborg Palace, in Copenhagen, Denmark Aug. 11, 2022.
British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said the goal of the meeting was securing 'concrete steps' to provide more aid to Ukraine. He said Britain will send an unspecified number of new multiple launch rocket systems and guided missiles to Ukraine fighters to help it resist Russia's invasion.
Britain sent several rocket-launch systems to Ukraine earlier this year, and Ukrainian troops have been trained in Britain about how to use them.
'Our continued support sends a very clear message, Britain and the international community remain opposed to this illegal war and will stand shoulder-to-shoulder, providing defensive military aid to Ukraine to help them defend against [Russian President Vladimir] Putin's invasion,' Wallace said.
The Danish government said it would give Ukraine an extra $113 million in assistance, bringing its total war support to more than $413 million. Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen called it 'a huge donation,' with part of the money paying for 130 Danish troops to help train Ukrainian forces in Britain over the coming months.
'We will not let you down,' Frederiksen declared.
Norwegian Defense Minister Bjørn Arild Gram said Western resolve in assisting Ukraine is undiminished.
'There still is a very strong support to help Ukraine, also on the long run. It is decisive for Ukraine to be able to defend itself against the Russian attack,' Arild Gram said.
The Kyiv School of Economics said in a report Wednesday that the war damage to Ukraine's infrastructure totals more than $110 billion. The report said 304 bridges and more than 900 health care facilities have been destroyed or damaged.
As the Western defense leaders met, new independent satellite pictures released Thursday showed wide devastation at a Russian air base in Crimea, where Ukraine says nine Russian warplanes were destroyed on Tuesday.
A satellite image shows destroyed Saky air base in Crimea, Aug. 10, 2022. (Planet Labs PBC/Handout via Reuters)
Pictures released by the satellite firm Planet Labs showed three near-identical craters where buildings at Russia's Saki air base on the southwest coast of Crimea had been struck with apparent precision. The pictures showed there was extensive fire damage and the burned-out shells of destroyed warplanes were clearly visible.
Ukraine has not publicly claimed responsibility for the attack or said exactly how it was carried out. But the extent of the damage suggested Kyiv may have obtained new long-range strike capability.
Russia has denied aircraft were damaged and said explosions seen at the base on Tuesday were the result of the accidental detonation of munitions stored there.
Some material in this report came from Reuters and the Associated Press.