Ukraine claims new gains, welcomes Western air defense pledge

Ukraine said on Oct. 13 it had reclaimed more territory in the south and welcomed a Western pledge to deliver air defense systems to Kiev "as fast as we can" after days of intense Russian missile strikes.

A US-led group of around 50 countries held talks at the NATO headquarters in Brussels and vowed to deliver new anti-missile systems to Kiev.

Ukraine is reeling from Russian attacks that have left scores dead and wounded as well as villages and towns without power and hot water across the country.

"The systems will be provided, as fast as we can physically get them there," US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said after the meeting, without giving details.

In a further show of Western solidarity, the G7 vowed to "stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes", while International Monetary Fund chief Kristalina Georgieva pledged financial help for the sake of "moving with you in the direction of a strong Ukraine".

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who has described the Russian missile attacks as an act of terrorism and has pressed the West for an "air shield", welcomed the promised anti-missile systems.

"The more audacious and cruel Russian terror becomes, the more obvious it is to the world that helping Ukraine to protect the sky is one of the most important humanitarian tasks for Europe today," Zelensky said in his daily address to the nation.

As Ukraine faces a barrage of Russian aerial assaults, Britain on Thursday said it would supply drones and, for the first time, rockets capable of shooting down cruise missiles.

"The AMRAAM rockets... will be provided in the coming weeks for use with the NASAMS air defense systems pledged by the US," the British defense ministry said in a statement.

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