NATO ministers consider boosting defense production

NATO defense ministers are discussing ways to deliver more weapons and ammunition, including fighter aircraft, to Ukraine.

Jens Stoltenberg, Oleksii Reznikov and Lloyd Austin (photo: DW)
Jens Stoltenberg, Oleksii Reznikov and Lloyd Austin (photo: DW)
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DW

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Thursday said the military alliance's support for Ukraine is making a difference on the battlefield.

He spoke as the US-led Ukraine Defence Contact Group met as a part of a NATO defense ministers' meeting in Brussels to discuss Kyiv's counter-offensive against Russia .

"Ukrainians are making gains...it also highlights and demonstrates that the support NATO allies have been giving to Ukraine now for many, many months actually makes a difference on the battlefield as we speak," Stoltenberg said.

NATO meeting with defense industry leaders

Ministers planned to discuss increasing defense production with industry leaders to help sustain Ukraine's fight.

"This is now a war of attrition, and the war of attrition is a battle of logistics, and therefore, we have engaged with the defense industry," Stoltenberg said.

"We will also agree at the meeting new capability targets for battle decisive ammunition, and those targets for each and every nation will be significantly higher than the current ones," he added.

US Defense Secretary, Lloyd Austin, vowed that countries in the contact group would stand by Ukraine to "help it succeed on the battlefield."

"Ukraine's fight is a marathon and not a sprint. So we will continue to provide Ukraine with the urgent capabilities that it needs to meet this moment, as well as what it needs to keep itself secure for the long term from Russian aggression," he said.

Planes for Ukraine

Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov also attended the meeting at the NATO headquarters.

Kyiv has constantly urged its allies to supply it with modern fighter aircraft.

Stoltenberg said the issue will definitely be discussed during the two-day meeting.

"Exactly when decisions will be taken, it's too early to say, but the fact that training (of Ukrainian pilots on jets) has started provides us with the option to also decide to deliver planes, and then the pilots will be ready to fly them."

Danish Defense Minister, Troels Lund Poulsen, said he would discuss his country's plans to train Ukrainian fighter pilots with his counterparts.

The training was slated for the Skrydstrup base in Jutland, home to Denmark's F-16 jets, Danish news agency Ritzau reported.

Denmark and the Netherlands were spearheading a mission to train Ukrainian pilots, as early as August, towards the eventual supply of Western aircraft to Kyiv..

Air defense was "extremely important," Dutch Defence Minister Kajsa Ollongren said in Brussels.

lo/fb (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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