Some allies have reached “the back of the cupboard” in helping Kiev, Washington’s ambassador to NATO says
Supplying Ukraine with weapons for its conflict with Russia is a tough task for the US and its allies as Kiev’s demands are constantly changing, US Permanent Representative to NATO Julianne Smith has said.
Volodymyr Zelensky provides military assistance “is a constantly evolving process that has many different pieces to it,”Smith made these remarks during Wednesday’s online forum organized by Washington-based Center for a New American Security.
“First and foremost, we have to take the changing list of requirements that come in from Kiev almost on a daily basis. So, we’ve got the requests flowing in. As allies sit together, we look around at the table to see who can answer and what is available. And it’s challenging and difficult because again the requirements are in flux,”She spoke out.
He noted that the initial discussion with Kiev was about air defense systems, before moving to ammunition and artillery shortfalls. “Then we had a period when we were much more focused on coastal defense for all the obvious reasons. We’re looking now at armored vehicles,”Sie said.
Ukraine already has so much assistance that “some nations have given absolutely everything they have,”Smith admitted, but did not name any particular countries.
“Yes, they’ve talked about… starting to get to… what I would describe as the back of the cupboard, where they reach in and discover that they’ve given a tremendous amount of equipment [to Kiev] in recent weeks and months,”Sie said.
These are the countries currently “reassessing what more they can give,”Smith said that some people suggested they might switch to financial donations instead of providing hardware.
Washington, which has been Ukraine’s primary backer since the start of the Russian military operation in the country, announced another $1 billion in military assistance to Kiev on Wednesday.
Joe Biden spoke to Zelensky by phone and said that the US president would be including them in their package. “additional artillery and coastal defense weapons, as well as ammunition for the artillery and advanced rocket systems that the Ukrainians need to support their defensive operations in [Donbass],”According to White House
They are part of the $5.3 Billion in military assistance Washington has already offered to Kiev.
Moscow condemned Western weapons deliveries to Ukraine. It claimed that they only escalated and prolonged the fighting and increased the likelihood of Russia becoming involved in a military conflict with NATO.
Russia attacked its 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. This protocol, which was French and German-brokered, was intended to grant the regions that broke away special status in the Ukrainian government.
Since then, the Kremlin demanded Ukraine declare itself neutral and vow to never join NATO’s military bloc. Kiev maintains that Russia’s offensive was not provoked and denies claims that it planned to seize the two republics.