NATO defense ministers meet in Brussels for ninth Ramstein format meeting
Minister of Defense of Ukraine Oleksiy Reznikov shows a handkerchief with the image of a fighter jet to journalists in Brussels, February 14, 2023 (Photo:Olivier Matthys/Pool via REUTERS)
The ninth meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group (known as the “Ramstein format” meetings, as they were first held at the U.S. Ramstein Air Base in Germany) will take place at NATO headquarters in Brussels on Feb. 14.
Representatives of the defense departments of more than 40 countries have been gathering for such meetings since the spring of last year.
Ukraine will traditionally be represented at the regular meeting by a team consisting of representatives of the Defense Ministry, intelligence services, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, and diplomats.
Earlier, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov, who heads the delegation, announced the main topics of discussion:
· the protection of the Ukrainian sky, in particular “through the involvement of an aviation platform” (meaning negotiations regarding the provision of Western aircraft to Ukraine);
· the formation of a “tank coalition;”
· the formation of a safety margin for ammunition;
· training programs for Ukrainian soldiers;
· stability of support to Ukraine: issues of logistics, maintenance, repair of equipment, and the practical implementation of a “military Schengen.”
Reznikov also emphasized an “extremely high pace” of discussions on aid to Ukraine and stated that the current “involvement and support” of Ukraine’s partners give reason for optimism before the next Ramstein meeting.
Meanwhile, presidential advisor Mykhailo Podolyak reiterated that Ukraine needs effective armored vehicles and long-range missiles, as well as attack and fighter jets. All this will be discussed at the meeting in Brussels, he said.
“Rammstein is such a think tank where everyone can discuss the coming stage of the war,” Podolyak said on Ukrainian national television on Feb. 12.
“Russia has built up its final resource, many mobilized soldiers. In fact, they may not be as well prepared as those who entered the territory of Ukraine at the beginning (of the war), but meanwhile there are a lot of them. The second component is armored vehicles, which Russia brought as many as it could find to us. The third component is artillery, which Russia also pulled in from everywhere. Therefore, we will talk at Ramstein about what we need to effectively counter all this.”
Another meeting of the North Atlantic Council (NATO’s main political decision-making body) at the level of defense ministers of the Alliance countries will also take place in Brussels, in parallel with the Ramstein meeting. The meeting is scheduled for Feb. 14-15 and will be chaired by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. Defense Minister Reznikov will also take part in this meeting.
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