BRUSSELS (Reuters) -Ukraine’s Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal urged the European Union on Monday to supply Kyiv with more weapons and equipment while offering to help out with gas deliveries to reduce the bloc’s dependence on Russia.
“We need more modern weapons, such as air defence, missile defence and ship defence,” Shmyhal told reporters after a meeting of the EU-Ukraine Association Council in Brussels.
He said his country also needed aircraft and more armoured vehicles as there were no signs Russia was willing to end the war that Moscow describes as a “special military operation”.
A week ago, after months of punishing Russian artillery assaults in the east, Ukraine began a long-awaited counter-attack, its biggest since it drove Russian forces away from the outskirts of Kyiv in March.
On Monday, Kyiv made its boldest claim yet of success on the battlefield, saying it had captured two towns in the south and one in the east, while European markets reopened in free-fall after Russia kept its main gas pipeline to Germany shut.
Shmyhal suggested Ukraine could deliver gas to the EU to ease an energy crunch that has driven prices to record-high levels.
“We can replace to a large extent the Russian imports,” Shmyhal said.
“30 billion cubic meters is what we have in our gas stores, and we can offer some of it to our European partners in order to replace the Russian Federation in the unstable market,” he said.
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, meanwhile, pledged the bloc’s continuous support to Kyiv, no matter “whatever threat, whatever blackmail” might be coming from Russia.
“We will provide our support politically, financially, humanitarian and militarily as long as it takes and as much as needed,” Borrell said.
(Reporting by Sabine Siebold and Philip Blenkinsop; Editing by Angus MacSwan and Philippa Fletcher)