Ukraine pleads for help as Russian attacks intensify

Ukrainian leaders are pleading for outside help to repel Russian attacks that have cut off escape routes in a key eastern city. NATO leaders will soon meet to discuss how they can help.

Russian troops have pushed deep into Severodonetsk, forcing hundreds to shelter in a chemical plant.

They are calling on the Ukrainians to surrender. Local officials say constant bombardments mean mass escape is now impossible.

But Russian defense officials say they will allow civilians to leave the complex.

They say Ukrainian fighters should "stop their senseless resistance" and surrender.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said, "Intense action in Severodonetsk and in surrounding areas, as before, have brought casualties. And they are painful for us."

Zelenskyy says his forces need more modern anti-missile weapons immediately. He adds that delays can't be justified and he's looking to allies for help.

NATO's chief sat down with a number of European leaders on Tuesday, who pleaded Zelenskyy's case.
They say Russia's decision to invade Ukraine has had unintended consequences, forcing NATO to strengthen weapons capabilities along the alliance's eastern border.

Referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Latvian Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins said, "I don't think he counted on the reaction that we in Europe and in NATO have had, and that is he has pushed us together and reunited us in a way that maybe we have not had this sense of purpose for many years."

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin arrived in Brussels for Wednesday's meeting of NATO ministers. He is bringing together dozens of nations to figure out how to get Ukraine the support it needs.