Ukraine’s NATO allies have announced they will deliver advanced air defence weapons to Kyiv, after recent Russian missile strikes on Ukranian cities this week.
The pledges come as Ukraine’s allies from 50 countries meet at Nato headquarters in Brussels in a summit Kyiv hailed as “historic”.
It has been a particularly intense week in Ukraine – on Monday and Tuesday, it saw some of its heaviest Russian bombardment in months when more than 100 missiles were launched, hitting energy infrastructure and other non-military targets including a children’s playground.
At least 19 people were killed on the first day of the strikes, which included hitting central Kyiv.
The weaponry promised by the UK, Canada, France and the Netherlands includes missiles and radars. The US earlier made a similar pledge. One high-tech system from Germany is already in Ukraine, according to Ukraine’s ministry of defence.
The UK will donate air defence missiles, as well as hundreds of aerial drones to support Ukraine’s information gathering and logistics capabilities. It will also provide 18 howitzer artillery guns in addition to the 64 already delivered.
“Russia’s latest indiscriminate strikes on civilian areas in Ukraine warrant further support to those seeking to defend their nation,” said Defence Secretary Ben Wallace.
“These weapons will help Ukraine defend its skies from attacks and strengthen their overall missile defence.”
Speaking after the Brussels meeting on Wednesday, US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin said “we’re going to do everything we can to make sure that they [Ukrainians] they have what’s required to be effective”.
French President Emmanuel Macron said Paris would supply air defence systems to Ukraine.
In an interview to France 2 television, he did not specify which systems would be sent. But he did say their main function would be to protect the population from drones.
The Netherlands said it would deliver €15m (£13m; $14.5m) worth of air defence missiles.
Dutch Defence Minister Kajsa Ollongren said the Russian attacks “can only be met with unrelenting support for Ukraine and its people”.
Canada pledged to provide more than C$47m ($34m; £31m) worth of military aid, including satellite communications and drone cameras.
On Thursday, Russian shelling hit the southern city of Mykolaiv, officials said.
The city’s mayor Oleksandr Senkevich said the city was “massively shelled” at around 01:00 local time (23:00 GMT).
“A five-storey residential building was hit, the upper two floors were completely destroyed, the rest – under rubble. Rescuers are working on the site,” he said.