Russia-Ukraine war: Helicopter crash in Ukraine kills at least 14, including cabinet official

Russia-Ukraine war: Helicopter crash in Ukraine kills at least 14, including cabinet official

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credit…Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky made an impassioned appeal via video Wednesday to heads of state and other decision-makers gathered at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, calling for a faster pace of support for his country in the face of Russia’s invasion.

At the start of Mr Zelensky’s address, which he delivered in English, he called for a moment of silence in honor of Ukraine’s Interior Minister Denis Monastirsky and more than a dozen others who were killed in a helicopter crash near Kyiv, Ukraine capital, earlier on Wednesday. He called the crash, the cause of which is under investigation, a tragedy and another example of the needless deaths that have marked the conflict.

Too often, he said, Ukraine found itself in a race against time. “Tragedies overtake life. Tyranny overtakes democracy,” said Mr. Zelensky. “The time the free world uses to think is used by the terrorist state to kill.”

Russian tanks took just seconds to cross the border last February, Mr. Zelensky said, but days before the sanctions were imposed. He said a Russian missile crossed the country minutes before hitting a building in the city of Dnipro on Saturday, killing 45 people.

“Supplying Ukraine with air defense systems should pre-empt the next Russian missile attacks,” he said. “Western tank deliveries must precede the next Russian tank invasion.”

Mr Zelensky has pleaded his country’s case to many international groups, including the UN General Assembly, Congress, the European Parliament and the Group of 20 nations. Only the address to Congress was made in person.

Others are also making appeals for Ukraine at Davos. The country’s first lady Olena Zelenska spoke on Monday and Vitali Klitschko, the mayor of Kyiv, was there with his brother Vladimir Klitschko, another former heavyweight boxing champion.

Mr Zelensky has repeatedly argued that Moscow felt empowered to invade Ukraine in part because of the limited international response to Russia’s 2014 invasion, during which it annexed the Crimean peninsula and created two breakaway republics in the eastern Donbass region. On Wednesday, he tried to frame the war in the context of a struggle for democratic values.

“We routinely defend values ‚Äč‚Äčthat some of our allies take for granted as a fact of life,” he said. “First the world underestimates the threat, then it unites to counter it, and then the world wins.”

Mr Zelensky spoke during a critical week of diplomacy as Ukraine pushes for more advanced weapons, including tanks and air defence rockets. On Tuesday, the Netherlands said it intended to follow USA and Germany by sending a Patriot missile system to Ukraine. the same day Gen. Mark A. Milleythe chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke with his Ukrainian counterpart in Poland, their first face-to-face meeting since Russia invaded last February.

On Wednesday, NATO defense ministers began a two-day meeting in Brussels to assess aid to Ukraine. On Friday, they will be at Ramstein Air Base in Germany, joined by officials from a wider group of nations coordinating aid. US Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III will lead these discussions, which will include the crucial question of sending western tanks.

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