Rescuers work at the scene of an airstrike in Dnipro, Ukraine, on Friday, 11 March (Picture: Ukraine State Emergency Service/UPI/Alamy Live News).
Ukraine

Zelensky demands more courage from the West in helping Ukraine fight

More decisive action on tank and fighter jet donations is needed, the Ukrainian leader said.

Rescuers work at the scene of an airstrike in Dnipro, Ukraine, on Friday, 11 March (Picture: Ukraine State Emergency Service/UPI/Alamy Live News).

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has accused the West of lacking courage as his country fights Russia's invasion, making a plea for fighter jets and tanks to sustain a defence in a conflict that has ground into a war of attrition.

After US President Joe Biden met senior Ukrainian officials in Poland on Saturday, Mr Zelensky lashed out at the West's "ping-pong about who and how should hand over jets and other defensive weapons to us" while Russian missile attacks kill and trap civilians.

"I've talked to the defenders of Mariupol today. I'm in constant contact with them. Their determination, heroism and firmness are astonishing," Mr Zelensky said in a video address early on Sunday, referring to the besieged southern city that has suffered some of the war's greatest deprivations and horrors.

"If only those who have been thinking for 31 days on how to hand over dozens of jets and tanks had 1% of their courage."

Russia's invasion of Ukraine has stalled in many areas, faltering in the face of Ukrainian resistance bolstered by weapons from the US and other western allies.

Western military aid has so far not included fighter jets. A proposal to transfer Polish planes to Ukraine via the US was scrapped amid NATO concerns about getting drawn into conflict with Russia.

French President Emmanuel Macron has ruled out the possibility of sending tanks, saying it would cross a 'red line'.

"So, who is in charge of the Euro-Atlantic community? Is it still Moscow, thanks to its scare tactics?" Mr Zelenskyasked. "Our partners must step up their aid to Ukraine."

Watch: Ex-CIA officer fears Russia could resort to weapons of mass destruction.

The UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) said on Sunday that the battlefield across northern Ukraine remains largely static as local counterattacks hamper Russian attempts to reorganise their forces.

The MOD said Russian troops looked to be trying to encircle Ukrainian forces directly facing the separatist regions in the country's east.

Moscow has claimed that its focus is on wresting Ukraine's eastern Donbas region from Ukrainian control. The region has been partially controlled by Russia-backed separatists since 2014.

Despite those assertions, Russian rockets struck the western city of Lviv on Saturday while Mr Biden visited neighbouring Poland.