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Umerov after Ramstein: 15 countries join air defense coalition in support of Ukraine

by Martin Fornusek February 14, 2024 9:17 PM 2 min read
Defense Minister Rustem Umerov attending online the 19th Ramstein-format meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group on Feb. 14, 2024. (Rustem Umerov/Facebook)
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An allied coalition supporting Ukraine's air defense capabilities officially started its work during the 19th Ramstein-format meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, Ukraine's Defense Minister Rustem Umerov said on Feb. 14.

The initiative is led by Germany, France, and the U.S., and 15 countries total have already joined, Umerov noted.

The UDCG serves as an umbrella for several other "capability coalitions," such as the Dutch and Danish-led "fighter jet coalition" or the French-led "artillery coalition," aimed at long-term support for Ukraine's military capacities.

"Strengthening Ukraine's air defense capabilities is essential for the future of the conflict and the protection of civilian population," French Defense Minister Sebastian Lecornu said after signing the agreement on the "air defense coalition" with his German counterpart, Boris Pistorius.

Umerov also announced the official launch of the "drone coalition," led by Latvia and encompassing seven other countries. President Volodymyr Zelensky said that the Netherlands, Germany, and Estonia have newly joined this initiative.

Some 20 countries have already joined the Lithuanian-led demining coalition, and the 10 members of the IT coalition formally signed a cooperation agreement.

According to Ukraine's defense minister, the agenda of the UDCG summit also included artillery systems and shells, namely joint production. The plan to deliver F-16 fighter jets continues according to the schedule, he added.

"Partner support is unwavering. We are working to knock the Russians out of our territories—land, sea, and sky," Umerov said on Facebook.

In his opening remarks to the summit, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said that the Feb. 14 meeting will focus on meeting Kyiv's short-term urgent needs in the fields of artillery, ammunition, and air defenses.

Umerov said during an earlier Ramstein-format summit in September 2023 that forming coalitions centered around air defense, artillery, aviation, navy, and armored vehicles are the allies' key priorities.

Austin: Ramstein summit to focus on artillery, air defenses for Ukraine
U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Feb. 14 opened the 19th Ramstein-format meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group (UDCG), which is being held in a hybrid format in-person in Brussels and online.
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