(Berlin) Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Tuesday called on his country’s allies to increase their air defense aid to counter deadly Russian shelling at the opening of an international conference in Berlin.

“It is the terror of missiles and bombs that helps Russian troops advance on the ground,” Zelensky told a panel of senior European officials.

“Until we deprive Russia of the possibility of terrorizing Ukraine, (Russian President Vladimir) Putin will have no real interest in seeking a fair peace,” he argued, vowing that “defense air is the answer.”

Mr. Zelensky is participating in an international conference in Berlin on Tuesday for the reconstruction of Ukraine which brings together representatives of governments and the private sector, including ten prime ministers.  

His diplomatic agenda is busy with a trip to Italy for the G7 leaders’ summit on Thursday then the “Conference on Peace in Ukraine” which will bring together more than 90 countries and organizations on Saturday and Sunday in Switzerland, but not Russia or China.

The German chancellor agreed with Zelensky, urging Western allies to do more to enable Ukraine to defend itself against Russian bombing of its vital and civilian infrastructure.

“What the Ukrainian army needs most today is ammunition and weapons, especially for air defense,” he said, recalling in particular that Berlin recently decided to deliver a third defense system Patriot anti-aircraft.  

“I would like to ask everyone here today to support our Ukrainian air defense initiative with everything possible,” he said.

“First and foremost, we must provide Ukraine with what it needs to defend itself,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told the conference in Berlin.

Olaf Scholz reaffirmed that there would be “no military victory, no peace dictated” by Vladimir Putin.

“Promoting this awareness is the challenge of the peace summit which will meet this weekend in Switzerland,” declared the leader.

Energy security and the restoration of the Ukrainian electricity grid will also be at the center of discussions in Switzerland.

Volodymyr Zelensky said on Tuesday that Russian bombing of energy infrastructure had led to Ukraine’s electricity production being halved since the winter.

According to him, 80% of thermal production and a third of hydroelectric production were destroyed by Russian strikes, which in recent months targeted numerous Ukrainian power plants, after a bombing campaign the previous year which had already led to massive cuts.

As a result of the Russian strikes, the national operator Ukrenergo announced on Tuesday that it would extend power rationing across the country, with restrictions planned from 2 p.m. to 11 p.m. (11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern Time).

At the G7, heads of state and government hope to reach an agreement on the use of Russian assets frozen by the West to provide Ukraine with budgetary support and help it rebuild the country.

At the previous reconstruction conference, “I said that we should transfer income from fixed Russian assets to Ukraine,” von der Leyen said.

“At the G7 Summit we will discuss how Ukraine can benefit even more quickly,” she said.

The countries of the European Union took a first step by adopting an agreement in early May to seize income from Russia’s frozen assets in order to arm Ukraine, a windfall representing between 2.5 and 3 billion euros. per year.

The United States, however, wants to go further and has put pressure on the G7 countries to rally behind a mega-loan of around $50 billion guaranteed by future interest generated by immobilized Russian assets.

But many questions remain, including who would issue the debt and what would happen if the assets were released in the event of a peace deal.