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Ammunition production, F-16 training, counteroffensive progress discussed at Ramstein meeting

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk July 18, 2023 11:10 PM 2 min read
U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin speaks during a virtual meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group on July 18, 2023 at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
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At the 14th Ukraine Defense Contact Group meeting on July 18, the training of Ukrainian pilots on F-16 fighters and Ukraine's acute need for ammunition were the main topics of discussion.

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told reporters that the countries leading the F-16 training coalition, Denmark and the Netherlands, are progressing on training plan for Ukrainian pilots.

Austin also mentioned the discussion of ammunition production. According to Austin, there are plans to increase "production at both the national level and the multinational level through the European Union's important initiative to produce more ammunition.”

CNN reported on July 18 that NATO countries are now struggling to supply enough ammunition Ukraine needs for its counteroffensive against Russia.

Discussing the ongoing counteroffensive, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said that it was "far from a failure."

The expectations of how fast Ukraine would advance in comparison with the current reality shows "the difference between war on paper and real war," he added.

Milley added that minefields pose a serious issue to Ukrainian forces and that Ukraine is currently "preserving their combat power, and they are slowly and deliberately and steadily working their way through all these minefields.”

The format, also known as Ramstein after the NATO base in Germany, coordinates the efforts of the U.S. and its allies to provide military aid to Ukraine.

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