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Defense Ministry after Ramstein summit: Ukraine to receive more long-range weapons

by Dinara Khalilova and The Kyiv Independent news desk January 23, 2024 10:22 PM 3 min read
The 18th meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, also known as Ramstein summit, which brought together representatives from 50 countries to coordinate further defense aid to Ukraine takes place online on Jan. 23, 2024. (Ukraine's Defense Ministry)
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Allies will provide Ukraine this year with more weapons needed to effectively strike Russian targets both on the front line and in the rear as well as to destroy Russia's logistics hubs, Ukraine's Defense Ministry officials said following the 18th Ramstein summit on Jan. 23.

At the meeting, commitments were made to supply Ukraine with additional long-range striking capabilities, among other things, according to the ministry's press release.

Ukraine's military has been using the U.S.-provided ATACMS and Storm Shadow missiles delivered by the U.K. to strike Russian military sites and equipment deep behind the front lines.

The Ramstein-format online summit of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group (UDCG) took place amid increasing uncertainty surrounding the future of Western support for Ukraine as over $100 billion in U.S. and EU military and financial aid remain stalled by domestic political turmoil.

The UDCG comprises over 50 countries, including all 31 NATO members, and has been meeting regularly since April 2022 to coordinate military aid for Ukraine in its fight against Russian aggression.

According to Ukrainian Defense Ministry officials, the Jan. 23 summit showed that the "strong support" from Kyiv's allies would continue. Partners discussed strengthening Ukraine's capabilities within the aviation, air defense, artillery, and maritime security coalitions, said Hennadii Kovalenko, the head of the Defense Ministry's Department of International Defense Cooperation.

Within the aviation coalition, the allies discussed sending additional helicopters to Ukraine, according to Kovalenko.

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Ukraine's Defense Minister Rustem Umerov briefed the Ramstein summit participants on the country's defense priorities and goals for 2024, saying that for a breakthrough on the front line, Ukraine needs "innovation and significant technological progress." Defense technologies will be the key point on the ministry's agenda for this year, he added.

According to Umerov, Russia has used six times more artillery shells than Ukraine, "sacrificed an average of 400 soldiers in exchange for one square kilometer of land," exceeded Ukraine's capabilities in producing first-person view (FPV) drones, but despite all this, "has not come close to its strategic goals."

"It can hardly be considered an achievement that the huge military industry of Russia, the whole army of the aggressor, spent a whole year to capture the ruins of two cities — Bakhmut and Marinka," Umerov told partners.

While delivering opening remarks at the Ramstein summit, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said that his country "remains determined to support Ukraine in its fight for freedom," urging allies to provide Kyiv with ground-based air-defense systems and interceptors.

The previous Ramstein summit was held virtually in late November. The U.S. has since made no progress on resolving the ongoing dispute within the legislative branch about approving further aid for Ukraine.

"Our support for Ukraine's struggle against tyranny makes all of our countries more secure. If we lose our nerve, if we flinch, if we fail to deter other would-be aggressors, we will only invite even more bloodshed and chaos," said Austin.

"So a sovereign and secure Ukraine is critical to global security. And we must not waver in our support for Ukraine."

He also said that Washington didn't see any credible evidence of the misuse or illicit diversion of U.S.-supplied equipment in Ukraine.

"What we do see is Ukraine using the capabilities that we've provided to defend itself against Russian aggression."

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