Defense minister urges partners to provide Ukraine with offensive weapons
Ukraine needs not only defensive but also offensive weapons from its partners, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said at a briefing with his Danish counterpart Trine Bramsen on Dec. 18.
Reznikov said statements of concern were no longer enough, given Moscow’s ultimatum to NATO that Ukraine be banned from joining the alliance.
The alliance must take a tough stance and really help Ukraine, Reznikov said.
“If there is real assistance with weapons and technologies for Ukraine, this will stop the aggressor and he will not go on the offensive…,” Reznikov said.
“That’s because very pragmatic people live in the Kremlin, and they watch their money very well… If ’'s clear for them that the price of this offensive, this aggression, will be exorbitant for them, they will not resort to it.”
According to defense minister, economic, political, and financial sanctions – coupled with military aid to the Ukrainian armed forces – means that the costs of aggression against Ukraine would be too high for the Kremlin.
“We will defend ourselves, but help us,” he added.
The minister said Ukraine needs electronic warfare and reconnaissance equipment, anti-missile systems, cyber defense equipment, and aid for its navy.
“We’ve not made a secret of all these war needs, we’re not concealing them, in order to make the aggressor stop,” the minister said.
On Dec. 12, the Financial Times reported that Reznikov had blamed Germany for blocking the supply of weaponry to Kyiv through NATO, despite U.S. warnings of a possible imminent invasion by Russian forces.
German newspaper Bild appeared to confirm Reznikov’s claims when it reported that former German Chancellor Angela Merkel had personally opposed NATO arming Ukraine.
Berlin asked the Netherlands to also oppose arming Ukraine as well, allegedly because Germany did not want to find itself the only NATO member opposed to supplying Ukraine with weapons, Bild said.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has stated there is still no shared position in NATO on Ukraine’s membership and the provision of military aid.
On Dec. 10, the Russian Foreign Office announced that if Ukraine formed closer ties with NATO it could provoke a large-scale military conflict in Europe. The Kremlin urged NATO to reverse a 2008 decision that set both Ukraine and Georgia on the path to membership.
Then, on Dec. 17, Russia issued security demands to the United States and NATO, saying it would not accept Ukraine joining the NATO alliance.
During his talks with U.S. President Joe Biden, Russian President Vladimir Putin asked for guarantees that there would be no further eastward expansion for NATO. Biden did not accede to the demand, and Ukraine continues to proceed with NATO alignment.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has called on NATO members to reject the Kremlin’s demands.
On Dec. 18, the Russian Foreign Ministry warned the alliance that if it rejects Russia’s security demands, Moscow will switch to “counter-threat mode,” implying it would make a military response.
The United States will likely respond to Russia’s demands next week.
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