Saturday, May 25, 2024

NATO says members must choose Ukraine aid over own defense

Ukraine’s backers should prioritize donating weapons to Kiev over their own defense capabilities, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has stated.

“A part of the important effort we are now making across the NATO alliance to step up our delivery of air defense systems to Ukraine,” Stoltenberg told reporters during a press conference in Brussels on Wednesday.

“But Ukraine needs even more. That is why if allies face a choice between meeting NATO capability targets and providing more aid to Ukraine, my message is clear: send more to Ukraine.”

Stoltenberg pointed to Denmark as “a strong example” for promising in February to donate all of its artillery to Kiev. He praised Denmark and the Netherlands for their plans to provide the F-16 aircraft, adding that he was “encouraged” by the news that the US Congress is expected soon to vote for additional aid to Ukraine after months of delay.

The NATO chief’s appeal comes at a time when member states are struggling to deliver sufficient amounts of weapons to Ukraine without depleting their own stocks and compromising security. Officials in Kiev are blaming ammunition shortages for last year’s failed counteroffensive, as well as recent battlefield losses.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has sharply criticized Germany for refusing to donate its Taurus air-launched cruise missiles and US Republicans for blocking the $61 billion military aid bill sought by President Joe Biden.

“If Congress doesn’t help Ukraine, Ukraine will lose the war,” Zelensky warned this month.

Berlin has recently agreed to supply another US-made Patriot air defense system to Kiev. It refused to reverse the decision on Taurus, however, arguing that sending the missiles would require German personnel on the ground.

US House Speaker Mike Johnson, meanwhile, announced that he will put the Ukraine aid bill to the vote on Saturday. The legislation was previously stalled due to the bitter quarrels between Democrats and Republicans over immigration and border security.

Russia, for its part, has insisted that the deliveries of foreign weapons will lead to more escalation, but will not change the course of the conflict.

“The West continues to pump the Zelensky regime with weapons and is becoming an accomplice to its horrific crimes,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in January.Russia-

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