Volodymyr Zelensky made the appeal at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Wednesday, Polish state news agency PAP reported.
Speaking via video link from Kyiv, the Ukrainian president told the event that "the civilised world must make decisions with speed" to help his country defend itself against Russia.
At the moment, “tragedies are outpacing life" and "the tyranny is outpacing democracy,” he warned.
Zelensky’s words came as German Chancellor Olaf Scholz resisted calls to provide Leopard 2 main battle tanks to Ukraine, according to news outlets.
‘When evil seeks revenge, the world needs resolve and speed’
Zelensky said: “The world must not hesitate today and ever. When evil seeks revenge, the world needs resolve and speed.”
He urged: “The supply of Ukraine with air defence systems must outpace Russia’s next missile attacks. The supply of Western tanks must outpace another invasion of Russian tanks. The restoration of security and peace in Ukraine must outpace Russia’s attacks on security and peace in other countries.”
Zelensky was speaking ahead of a meeting of Western allies at the Ramstein air base in Germany on Friday, where the focus will be on whether Berlin will allow its Leopard tanks to be supplied to Ukraine to help drive out Russian troops, the Reuters news agency reported.
Zalensky’s speech was attended by his wife, First Lady Olena Zelenska, and some of Ukraine’s closest allies, including Polish President Andrzej Duda and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.
Stoltenberg called for a "significant increase" in weapons for Ukraine at a crucial moment in Russia's invasion, stressing that such support is “the only way to a negotiated peaceful solution,” according to Reuters.
Tanks for Ukraine
Meanwhile, the European Parliament on Wednesday adopted a resolution calling on Scholz “to deliver Leopard 2 main battle tanks to Ukraine without further delay,” the PAP news agency reported.
However, senior German officials said on Wednesday that Germany would not allow allies to transfer German-made tanks to Ukraine to help its defence against Russia, or send its own tanks, unless the United States agrees to send American-made battle tanks, according to The Wall Street Journal newspaper.
Meanwhile, Scholz himself, questioned by a Ukrainian attender in Davos about why he had not approved the transfer of Leopard tanks, replied, as quoted by Britain’s The Guardian newspaper: "Ukraine can rely on our support for their courageous fight but it is also clear we must avoid this becoming a war between Russia and NATO."
The 2023 World Economic Forum, attended by decision makers including Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and Deputy Prime Minister Jacek Sasin, runs until Friday.
Wednesday was day 329 of Russia’s war against Ukraine.
Source: PAP, Reuters, president.gov.ua, europarl.europa.eu, Wall Street Journal, The Guardian