Allies from 40 nations met Tuesday to strengthen Ukraine’s defense against Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked invasion, with the US promising to use all means necessary to help Ukraine win a proxy war against Russia.
The meeting called by the US and 40 other nations was held at Ramstein airbase in southwestern Germany.
The talks aim “to help Ukraine win the fight against Vladimir Putin’s unjust invasion of Ukraine and to build up Kyiv’s defenses for tomorrow’s challenges”, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said when the talks opened.
It’s clear that the Ukrainians are confident they can win, and everyone here also believes they can.
Austin said that Washington intends to “keep mobilizing heaven and earth so that we can meet” Kyiv’s needs since it is already the biggest international military aid supplier to the country.
Germany’s defense minister said during the talks that Berlin had decided to make available to Ukraine used Gepard anti-aircraft tanks.
Germany’s decision to supply heavy weapons marks a turning point from its timid backing of Kyiv, which has caused Chancellor Olaf Scholz to face criticism at home and abroad.
While Lambrecht acknowledged that Germany’s Bundeswehr’s weaponry is limited, he said it will take advantage of the armament manufacturers’ inventory.
In her words, she said, “Ukraine orders and Germany pays.”.
Heavy artillery and tanks
Ukrainian leaders have requested heavy artillery and tanks to thwart Russian efforts to seize complete control of their vast southern plains and eastern region of Donbas.
Now, however, Ukrainians do not have access to most of the Russian equipment they were trained to use.
Eastern European countries that still have some stocks have sent them to Kyiv for exchange with newer generation US equipment.
On Monday, Austin held a press conference in a Polish warehouse filled with loads of humanitarian and military aid.
There were hundreds of Russian-made shells and rockets near the pallets of medical supplies and diapers, provided by countries that prefer to remain anonymous about their involvement in arming Ukraine.
The arming of Ukraine
There were seven trucks outside the warehouse towing howitzers, each with a range of 30 kilometers (18 miles). There were hundreds of pallets filled with carefully packed shells and ammunition.
However, all of that is insufficient, and Washington, which had, in the beginning, limited its deliveries to so-called “defensive” weapons, has now begun sending heavy US-made arms, such as howitzer cannons and various armored vehicles.
“We are engaging our colleagues in other countries for the same type of capability, and early indications are that… many countries will come forward and provide additional munitions and howitzers,” Austin said.
Caesar cannons with a range of 40 kilometers are being delivered by France, and Starstreak anti-air missiles and tanks are being supplied by Britain.
The meeting is also intended to ensure Ukraine’s security in the long run once the war is over.
Austin noted that Ukraine needs our help to win today and that it will still need it when the war is over.
While the meeting on Tuesday is not being sponsored by NATO, it is attended by members of the alliance, including Washington’s European allies.
In addition, countries further afield, such as Japan and Australia, are concerned that a Russian victory could set a precedent and spark China’s territorial ambitions.
Following Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, Finland, and Sweden, traditionally neutral countries, are in the process of joining NATO.