Forty countries meet in Germany on bolstering Ukraine defence

By Orowo Victoria Ojieh

The United States has pledged to help Ukraine win its battle against Russia’s unprovoked invasion, as allies from 40 countries met at a US base in Germany to bolster Kyiv’s defence against Moscow.

The meeting called by the U. S. at its Ramstein airbase in southwestern Germany is “focussed on doing things to generate additional capability and capacity for the Ukrainian forces”, Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin mentioned following his visit to Kyiv on Sunday.

Forty countries held emergency talks in Germany on Tuesday on bolstering the defence of Ukraine, which the US Pentagon chief believes “can win” against Russia if given the necessary means and backing. “We believe that they can win if they have the right equipment, the right support,” Mr. Austin said.

Just ahead of the talks, Germany signalled that it was ready to authorise the deliveries of tanks to Ukraine, in what would be a major switch in Berlin’s cautious policy vis-a-vis defence equipment supply for Kyiv. Defence secretary, accompanied by the U. S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky in their first visits to Kyiv since Russia invaded Ukraine two months ago.

The U. S. is already the biggest supplier of international military aid to Ukraine. It pledged to do “everything that we can to get them the types of support, the types of artillery and munitions that will be effective in this stage of the fight”.

Kyiv is seeking heavy artillery and tanks to repel Russian forces trying to seize complete control of its vast southern plains and the eastern region of Donbas, but the Russian-made equipment which Ukrainians have been trained to use is now rare. Some countries in eastern Europe which still had stocks have sent them to Kyiv, sometimes in exchange for newer generation US equipment, The Tumpet gathered.

Austin and Blinken held their press conference in Poland following their visit to Kyiv at a warehouse stacked high with tonnes of humanitarian and military aid ready to be packed onto trucks bound for Ukraine.

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Hundreds of Russian-made shells and rockets were at the warehouse, provided by countries that prefer to remain discreet in their participation in arming Ukraine.

Outside the warehouse, seven vehicles towing howitzers with a range of 30 kilometres (18 miles) were awaiting transfer. They were parked in front of hundreds of pallets of carefully packed shells and various ammunitions.

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