The 15th meeting of the Contact Group on Ukraine takes place on Tuesday at the US air base in Ramstein, Germany. US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin spoke at the opening conference. He announced that the M1 Abrams tanks promised by the US will soon arrive in Ukraine. He also emphasized that air defense is crucial for Kiev at the moment.
At the US air base in Ramstein, Germany, on the initiative of the head of the Pentagon Lloyd Austin The 15th meeting of the contact group on Ukrainewhich coordinates international arms aid for defending Ukraine.
During the conference opening the meeting, Austin drew attention to the increasing attacks Russia on Ukrainian ports and infrastructure related to grain production, which leads to a sharp exacerbation of the food crisis around the world. He emphasized that in the face of these attacks, it is crucial to provide Ukraine with possible assistance in defending its airspace.
– At the same time, however, it is still necessary to provide Kiev with 155 mm ammunition – appealed the head of the Pentagon before the meeting attended by representatives of over 50 countries.
As Austin announced, a key topic of the Ramstein meeting is the future of Ukraine’s armed forces and how the coalition will evolve to help Kiev build the capabilities of its military in the long term. He also announced that the promised American M1 Abrams tanks would soon arrive in Ukraine.
– In recent months, Russia has continued to attack Ukrainian ports and grain infrastructure. So far, these attacks have destroyed at least 280,000 tons of grain. This is an amount that would be enough to feed as many as 10.5 million people in a year, said the head of the Pentagon.
He recalled that in total, Ukraine’s partners have allocated over $76 billion in direct defense assistance to this country. Since the last meeting in Ramstein in July United States provided additional aid packages to Ukraine worth over $2 billion in total. These include “urgently needed air defense, ammunition and mine clearing equipment.”
The US Secretary of Defense thanked the dismissed Minister of Defense of Ukraine Oleksiy Reznikov for his cooperation and welcomed the newly appointed Minister Rustem Umerov to the meeting. He also thanked several countries, including Poland, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, for leading the coalition within the contact group. “These coalitions deal with specific competences in the field of Leopard tanks, F-16 training and information technologies,” explained the head of the Pentagon.
Austin: Putin has demoralized the Russian army
Austin emphasized that “time is against Putin,” and over the course of the ongoing war, “Putin tried to demoralize Ukrainians, but instead he demoralized the Russian army.” In the opinion of the head of the Pentagon, the contact group for Ukraine shows the unity of 50 countries that declare support for Kiev, while Russia has been left almost alone in the international arena, with support only from countries such as Iran and North Korea.
– Ukrainians are fighting in self-defense, for a just cause. They are fighting for their future and freedom. They have the courage and perseverance to withstand the Kremlin’s attack, Austin emphasized. He added that the Ukrainian counteroffensive is constantly progressing, but we should be prepared for a further, long fight with Russia.
– Our commitments to Ukraine will not last only during one campaign. It is a sacrifice in the name of our common values. We will remain united, firm and persistent in our decision to defend Ukraine, said the head of the Pentagon.
Danish tanks for Ukraine
Danish Defense Minister Troels Lund Poulsen, who was present at the meeting in Ramstein, announced that Denmark will donate another 45 tanks to Ukraine – 30 Leopard 1 vehicles and 15 modernized T-72EA. Earlier, the government in Copenhagen, in cooperation with Germany and the Netherlands, sent 100 Leopard 1 tanks to Ukraine.
Main photo source: EPA/Ida Marie