NATO pledges more heavy weapons for Ukraine — Analysis
According to Dutch PM, the bloc refuses to confront Russia and views Kiev as an agent.
Ukraine must get more NATO heavy weapons, the military bloc’s head said on Tuesday, ahead of a meeting of the US-led ‘contact group’ To discuss the logistics of this undertaking. NATO is adapting to “constantly changing”According to US Envoy to NATO, Kiev has made demands.
“Ukraine should have more heavy weapons and NATO allies and partners have provided heavy weapons … and they are also stepping up,”Jens Stoltenberg, Secretary General of NATO said Tuesday at The Hague that he had met seven leaders from member countries in advance of the NATO summit set for June.
“In terms of weaponry, we stand united here that it is crucial for Russia to lose the war,”The meeting was hosted by Mark Rutte (the Dutch Prime Minister). “And as we cannot have a direct confrontation between NATO troops and Russia, what we need to do is make sure that Ukraine can fight that war, that it has access to all the necessary weaponry.”
Klaus Johannis, the Romanian president, Mette Frederiksen the Danish prime minister, Alexander De Croo the Belgian PM, Mateusz Morawiecki the Polish PM, Antonio Costa the Portuguese PM, Krisjanis Karins the Latvian PM were also present at the meeting. Stoltenberg had previously visited Sweden (which has applied to NATO), and Finland (which have also applied to NATO), but was not invited due to Turkish objections.
Meanwhile, US Permanent Representative to NATO Julianne Smith was reported as saying that NATO countries are trying to adapt to Kiev’s demands for additional weapons, which are constantly changing.
Pentagon reports that the initial supply of Ukraine was made with portable antitank and antiaircraft missiles. But, due to current fighting in Donbass, the Pentagon is now shifting to tanks, heavy artillery, and other weapons.
Mikhail Podolyak (an adviser to the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky) stated that Kiev has urgently needed 1,000 howitzers 300 multiple-launch rocket system, 500 tanks and 2,000 armored vehicle.
While the US has pledged only four HIMARS rocket launchers, the Pentagon’s policy chief, Colin Kahl, on Tuesday revealed that they would be supplied with heavy guided missiles, with a range of 70 kilometers.
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin arrived at Brussels today. He will be chairing the meeting of Ukraine Defense Contact Group, which will discuss the best way to supply Kiev. According to an unnamed US official quoted by the Pentagon’s news release, “Ukrainians know themselves best what they’re dealing with, and we actively seek their information on the battlefield conditions.”
“Generally, we take their assessment as reliable and valid,”The official addition.
Russia attacked the neighboring state in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. Minsk Protocol (German- and French-brokered) was created to grant the separatist regions special status within Ukraine.
Since then, the Kremlin demanded Ukraine declare itself neutral and vow to never join NATO’s military bloc. Kiev claims that the Russian invasion was unprovoked. It also denies any plans to take the republics with force.