Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called on allies Tuesday to provide air defense as Russia continued to bombard Ukraine for a second day — while also asking for international peacekeepers on the Belarusian border.

“For the second day now, Ukraine has been suffering from massive Russian missile strikes,” Zelensky said in a livestreamed address to the G7.

The Group of Seven — a consortium made up of the US, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Canada — held an emergency meeting Tuesday in response to Russia’s shelling of Ukrainian cities Monday.

“Starting from yesterday, the enemy used more than a hundred cruise missiles and dozens of different drones,” Zelensky said.

“Every 10 minutes I receive a message about the enemy’s use of Iranian ‘Shaheds’ [drones],” he added, rattling off seven reports of the kamikaze UAVs he said he’d received between 5 and 6 a.m.

“And it’s like that almost every hour! Plus 28 launches of Russian missiles today, and that’s just this morning,” Zelensky said.

G7 members sit at a table while the Ukrainian president appears on screen
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed an emergency meeting of the G7.
Bundesregierung via Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his air assaults — which have targeted civilian power plants and residential neighborhoods — are retaliation for an apparent Ukrainian attack on the Kerch Bridge, a major supply artery between Russia and occupied Crimea.

But Zelensky on Tuesday said the attacks were part of the cornered Kremlin chief’s “terrorist rush” to put Ukraine’s allies on edge.

“Russia wants to provoke chaos in Ukraine and in the entire democratic world,” Zelensky said.

“When Ukraine receives a sufficient number of modern and effective air defense systems, the key element of Russian terror — missile strikes — will cease to work,” he said.

Firefighters spray water on an enormous blaze
Firefighters try to tame a blaze in Zaporizhzhia, which was hit with 12 Russian missiles Tuesday.

Meanwhile, air raid sirens blared for the second day, as Russian missiles slammed into power facilities in Lviv and Vinnitsya provinces. At least one person was killed in Zaporizhzhia as 12 missiles struck public facilities throughout the city. At least one missile was shot down by air defenses before hitting Kyiv.

“We condemn these attacks in the strongest possible terms and recall that indiscriminate attacks on innocent civilian populations constitute a war crime,” the G7 said in a joint statement following Zelensky’s address. “We will hold President Putin and those responsible to account.

“No country wants peace more than Ukraine, whose people have suffered death, displacement and countless atrocities as the result of Russian aggression,” the statement went on. “In solidarity with Ukraine, the G7 Leaders welcome President Zelensky’s readiness for a just peace.”

a Russian warship launches a cruise missile at a target in Ukraine.
A Russian warship launches a cruise missile at a target in Ukraine.

The Ukrainian president also asked for international observers to be placed on the northern border with Belarus.

Ukraine’s northern neighbor, run by Kremlin crony Alexander Lukashenko, announced it will be hosting thousands of Russian troops, as it did in the weeks leading up to Russia’s initial invasion in February.

“Russia is trying to directly draw Belarus into this war, playing a provocation that we are allegedly preparing an attack,” Zelensky claimed.

Two cars in a field of rubble
Kyiv residents check their cars for damage after a day of Russian missiles striking the capital.

“Ukraine did not plan and does not plan military action against Belarus,” he continued. “But in order to completely remove this provocation, to remove these narratives by Lukashenko, to remove even the assumption of any alleged threat from us, we offer [this] solution.”

The G7 did not address Zelensky’s request for an international force in its statement, but called on Lukashenko to “stop enabling the Russian war of aggression by permitting Russian armed forces to use Belarusian territory and by providing support to the Russian military.” 

Zelensky also praised the West for its eighth round of sanctions against Moscow, and called on the Group of Seven to further isolate Putin.

“There can be no dialogue with this leader of Russia, who has no future,” Zelensky said. “Now one person is blocking peace, and this person is in Moscow.”

With wires

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