10th Ramstein starts, coordination of long-term support for Ukraine is on agenda
The tenth meeting of the Contact Group on Ukraine's Defense (Ramstein) started online on Wednesday, March 15
Ukraine's Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov wrote about this on Twitter.
“Ramstein 10 begins. This time we are meeting online. Stay tuned!” he tweeted.
In his opening remarks before the meeting, Pentagon Chief Lloyd Austin noted that the meeting would focus on coordinating long-term support for Ukraine.
“But we are now at a crucial time in the course of Ukraine's fight for freedom. And we must all demonstrate our continued resolve and unity. That means following through on our commitments—fully and quickly. We must provide Ukraine with full capabilities for the fight ahead, including the spare parts and maintenance packages to sustain the critical capabilities provided by members of this Contact Group. So this Contact Group is focused on coordinating long-term sustainment,” he said.
Lloyd Austin added that the allies will work to find ways for Ukraine to get new ammunition and air defense systems.
“To increase ammunition production, members of this Contact Group are coming together to develop innovative solutions to industrial-production problems. And I'm confident that we'll continue to step up to meet Ukraine's needs into this spring and well beyond,” he emphasized.
The Pentagon chief said that the virtual meeting was joined by members of the Contact Group from around the world and most time zones, including friends from the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and the Indo-Pacific.
“The countries here today understand the stakes of Russia's war of choice—both for the Ukrainian people and for the world. This is the greatest threat to European security since the start of the Cold War in the aftermath of World War II. And it is a direct attack on the rules-based international order that keeps us all safe and secure,” Austin noted.
He recalled that over the past year, the Ukrainian Armed Forces have won several impressive victories on the battlefield, while rapidly building the Ukrainian army into a strong, professional force. He added that the Contact Group is always committed to helping the Ukrainian troops get what they need and when they need it.
Lloyd Austin listed the support provided to Ukraine recently, in particular, he mentioned the allocation of another USD 400 million in aid to Ukraine from the United States, as well as the expansion of the coalition of countries that are ready to provide Ukraine with Leopard tanks and air defense systems.
The Pentagon chief expressed confidence that the allies would continue to increase their support for Ukraine and fulfill their commitments.
“After 10 meetings of the Contact Group, our unity of effort continues to be a mighty source of strength. And we will remain resolute and united in support of Ukraine's right to live as a free and sovereign country—for as long as it takes,” he said.
On the eve of the upcoming meeting in the Ramstein format, Reznikov spoke by phone with Pentagon Chief Lloyd Austin. The minister said that he had exchanged with his American counterpart “thoughts on our cooperation and the path to victory.”