Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky walks along a street, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, as he visits Kherson, Ukraine March 23, 2023. Image Credit: REUTERS

Brussels: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday told European leaders that "delays" sending fighter jets and long-range missiles could extend the war, an EU official said.

Zelenksy addressed a summit of his EU counterparts via video link from a Ukrainian train after visiting war-ravaged areas along the front line with Russian forces.

The secure connection was briefly lost once, the European official told reporters at the summit.

The official said the Ukrainian leader welcomed an EU plan agreed this week aimed at sending Kyiv one million artillery shells over the next 12 months.

But Zelensky insisted that delays in supplying modern jets and long-range missiles could drag out the conflict, the official said.

Zelensky also urged the leaders to impose more sanctions on Moscow, speed up work on Ukraine's EU membership bid, and increase support for a peace plan proposed by Kyiv.

The Ukrainian leader has repeatedly pleaded with his Western allies to send it modern warplanes and long-range missiles to help push back Moscow's forces.

As the summit began, Slovakia said it had transferred four Soviet-era MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine, after becoming the first country alongside Poland to commit to sending older planes.

But Kyiv's backers have so far refused to provide Western-made aircraft.

Before his call to the EU summit, Zelensky had visited the southern Ukrainian region of Kherson partially controlled by Russian forces.

Ukrainian forces recaptured Kherson city, the administrative centre of the region, in November following the withdrawal of Russian forces.

The EU official said Zelensky gave an emotional account of the devastation he had seen during his visit to the region and to the battleground town of Bakhmut in east Ukraine.