The United States signaled yesterday that it expects European countries to be more involved in military support for Ukraine during a conference held at its Ramstein military base in Germany, which is the headquarters of its air force in Europe. At the convening of US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, the defense ministers and chiefs of staff of 40 allied countries agreed to increase the supply of weapons to the occupied country, without disclosing details. “Ukraine clearly believes it can win, and we all believe it here,” Austin said in the morning as he opened the job. Long-term goal, beyond helping Ukraine win the war: “We want Russia to be weakened to the point where it can no longer do the same thing as invading Ukraine,” Austin said.
After two months of war since the start of the Russian invasion on February 24, the Ukrainian army is fighting and resisting, but Kyiv is demanding heavy artillery and armored vehicles to counter Vladimir Putin’s attempt to occupy the south and east of the country. In this second phase of the conflict, which is declared to be protracted, the issue of heavy weaponry is crucial, especially tanks and air defenses, as the Russians overwhelm them from the air with long-range bombardments in order to push back most of the Ukrainian forces, so that they can then send tanks and infantry for occupation territory.
Countries on NATO’s eastern flank, such as Poland and Slovakia, have already sent this type of weaponry, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky insists his army needs more. Kyiv is demanding heavy weaponry to try to fight back against Russian forces in the country’s vast southern and eastern plains, as the Russian-made military hardware that Ukrainian soldiers have been trained with is in short supply.
“We want Russia to be weakened” so that it cannot repeat the aggression, said the American Austin
The pressure had already become unbearable for countries like reluctant Germany, where Social Democratic chancellor Olaf Scholz was reluctant to turn around, despite his own coalition partners, environmentalists and liberals, having long called for tanks to be sent to Ukraine. , with the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the green Annalena Burbock, as the main voice. Yesterday, at a conference in Ramstein, Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht, also a Social Democrat, announced that Germany would allow the sale to Ukraine of fifty Gepard tanks equipped with anti-aircraft artillery, which can also be used against ground targets. . The tanks are owned by the Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) consortium. After the conference, the American Austin called this delivery “significant”.
The meeting at a US base in western Germany’s Rhineland-Palatinate was preceded by a warning from Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who asked the question in an interview on Russian state television on Monday evening. about the possibility of a third world war and nuclear escalation, he spoke of a “real danger.” US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, questioned about this, replied that “speculation about a nuclear war does not help and is dangerous.”
Among the 40 participating countries were European allies of the United States, as well as geographically more distant countries such as Australia and Japan, which fear that a Russian victory in Ukraine would set a precedent and encourage China’s territorial ambitions. Also represented were Finland and Sweden, who after decades of neutrality now want to join NATO. From Spain participated JEMAD, Admiral General Teodoro Lopez Calderon.
A meeting of 40 allied countries on armaments for Kyiv was held at the US base in Ramstein (Germany)
“The meeting will become a monthly contact group on the defense of Ukraine,” Austin said at a short afternoon press conference. Lloyd Austin and US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken made a brief visit to Kyiv on Sunday, the first high-level US visit since the start of the war, during which they met with Ukrainian President Zelensky for about three hours.
“Ukraine needs our help to win today and will continue to need our help when the war is over,” Austin said at the beginning of the conference. “As we see this morning, countries around the world are united in our determination to support Ukraine in its fight against Russian imperialist aggression,” he added. The West is hoping that the Ukrainian armed forces, equipped with more advanced anti-aircraft weapons, attack drones and information provided by Western intelligence agencies, will be able to destroy much of the Russian firepower.
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