The bloc is reluctant to fight Russia directly and treats Kyiv as a proxy, the Dutch prime minister admits
Ukraine must acquire more NATO-heavy weapons, the head of the military bloc said on Tuesday, ahead of a meeting with the US-led “contact group” to discuss the logistics of that company. NATO is trying to adapt to the “ever-changing” demands of Kyiv, according to the US envoy to the alliance.
“Ukraine should have more heavy weapons and NATO allies and partners have provided heavy weapons … and they are also increasing,” Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Tuesday in The Hague, where he met with leaders of seven member states ahead of the end of the NATO summit. June.
“When it comes to weapons, we are united here that it is crucial for Russia to lose the war,” said Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who hosted the meeting. “And since we can not 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 weapons.”
The President of Romania Klaus Johannis, the Prime Minister of Denmark Mette Frederiksen, the Prime Minister of Belgium Alexander De Croo, the Prime Minister of Poland Mateusz Morawiecki, the Prime Minister of Portugal Antonio Costa and the Prime Minister of Latvia Krisjanis Karins also attended the meeting in the Netherlands. Stoltenberg has previously visited Sweden and Finland, which have applied to join NATO but which will most likely not be formally invited to the June 29-30 summit in Madrid, due to Turkish objections.
At the same time, the US Permanent Representative to the NATO, Julianne Smith, was reported to have said that the NATO countries were trying to adapt to Kiev’s demands for additional weapons, which were constantly changing.
According to Pentagoninitial efforts to supply Ukraine focused on portable anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles, but are now switching to tanks and heavy artillery due to the current fighting in the Donbass.
Mikhail Podolyak, adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, has said that Kyiv urgent need 1,000 howitzers, 300 multi-launch rocket systems, 500 tanks, 2,000 armored vehicles and 1,000 drones.
While the United States has promised only four HIMARS rocket launchers, the Pentagon’s policy chief, Colin Kahl, revealed on Tuesday that they would be equipped with heavy guided missiles, with a range of 70 kilometers.
Meanwhile, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has arrived in Brussels, where he will chair the meeting of Ukraine’s Defense Contact Group to discuss how best to supply Kyiv. According to an unnamed US official quoted by the Pentagon news release“Ukrainians themselves know best what they are dealing with, and we are actively seeking their information on conditions on the battlefield.”
“In general, we see their assessment as reliable and valid,” the official added.
Russia attacked the neighboring state at the end of February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, which were first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s final recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German- and French-mediated Minsk Protocol was designed to give the breakaway regions a special status within the Ukrainian state.
The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kyiv insists that the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied allegations that it planned to retake the two republics by force.