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View of Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy from the press centre in the Harpa Concert Hall in Reykjavik.
reykjavik

Zelenskyy thanks Council of Europe for 'damages register' and calls for additional fighter jets

He also called on leaders to support Ukraine’s ‘peace formula’.

Diarmuid Pepper reporting from Reykjavik

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT VOLODYMYR Zelenskyy has called for additional fighter jets, as he thanked the Council of Europe initiating a “register of damages” for those harmed by the ongoing war in Ukraine.

The fourth Council of Europe Summit is currently taking place at the Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre in the Icelandic capital of Reykjavik.

The Council of Europe (COE) is the continent’s leading organisation in the field of human rights, democracy and the rule of law.

It was established in 1949 in the wake of World War II with the aim of promoting stability and increasing cooperation on the continent.

The leaders of the 46 member states are at the Summit, as well as representatives from the five observer states, which includes the United States, Japan, the Vatican, Canada, and Mexico.

Every European state except for Belarus, Russia and Kosovo is a member.

Russia was excluded from the COE in March of last year after launching an invasion of Ukraine.

In his virtual address, Zelenskyy spoke about a Russian attack that was launched in Ukraine in the early hours of this morning.

“At three o’clock in the morning, our people woke up to explosions, 18 Russian missiles of different types were in our skies,” said Zelenskyy.

“Ballistic ones, which the terrorist state has boasted about; we were told such missiles would bring guaranteed death because they are supposedly impossible to shoot down. Russia used ballistic cruise missiles and drones at the same time to make it difficult for our defence to save lives.

However, Zelenskyy said “all lives were protected and all missiles were shut down, including ballistic ones”.

The Ukrainian president described this as a “historical result”.

Zelenskyy added that in order to “guarantee results like last night’s throughout the country, we need additional air defence systems and missiles, we also need more fighter jets”.

While he said that “no air defence system will be perfect”, Zelenskyy added: “I’m sure we will get there.”

He warned: “Russia is trying very hard to improve its ability to kill, and we are trying very hard to improve the protection of our people.”

“I am asking one thing now,” said Zelenskyy.

“If we are able to do this (last night), is there anything we can’t do when we are united and determined to protect lives?”

Zelenskyy thanked countries that have “helped us to improve our air defence” and said: “We are showing what our 100% means and what the power of the free world means.”

He then called on the Council of Europe to “give zero percent to the aggressor”.

He added that the “success of defence operations is guaranteed by weapons and training of our soldiers” and thanked the Council of Europe for “the decision of the register of damages caused by Russia’s depravity”.

Zelenskyy said this register of damages “brings close the creation of a full-fledged compensation mechanism that will show the world that aggression is not worth even thinking about”.

Speaking to reporters at the Summit, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said the register of damages will allow “Ukraine (to) get reparations down the road to rebuild its country once the war is over.”

Zelenskyy also told the Summit that “100% of the success of our peace formula is guaranteed by diplomacy”.

He then thanked “everyone who helps us unite the world to implement the peace formula, the only realistic peace plan”.

Ukraine has come up with a 10-point peace formula, which includes a call for the withdrawal of Russian troops, reparations and prosecutions for Russia’s war leadership.

In her address to the Summit following Zelenskyy’s speech, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen also pledged her support to Ukraine’s peace formula.

The Ukrainian president ended his virtual address by proclaiming that “Europe has been waiting for such times”.

“Times when leaders would act in 100% unity and we had 100% results for the sake of protecting Europe, for the sake of our Commonwealth. This is what we are achieving now.

“Ukraine, all of Europe, everyone is currently on this side. We are Europeans, so we are free. We are Europeans, so we welcome peace.

“We are Europeans, so we act with 100% of our strengths when it comes to protecting our way of life. Let these be forever the rules of our continent.”

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