The enduring support of Ukraine by its Western partners has been further reinforced during the latest Ramstein-5 meeting (named after the first such event, held at U.S. Air Force base in Ramstein, Germany), bolstering Ukraine’s air defenses and expanding troop training programs, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said in a Facebook post on Sept. 10.
Recent successful Ukrainian counteroffensive have shifted the priorities in the ever-growing flow of Western weapons, the minister said.
“First of all, increasing Western weapons shipments elevate the need to conduct repairs and maintenance on them,” said Reznikov.
“Second, as the countries of the free world weren’t ready for a full-scale European war, there are limited amounts of kit readily available to us.”
Nevertheless, Ukraine has demonstrated that the Kremlin can be defeated – something “nobody believed before,” Reznikov added.
“… ‘sustain,’ ‘long-term,’ and ‘training’ were key points (discussed at the meeting) this time,” the minister said.
“Moscow still has plenty of resources. Victory is not imminent, but it is inevitable. Discussing our cooperation in medium- and long term has become a priority. I’ve outlined our plans for 2023 to our partners.”
Ukraine needs to attain technological superiority over Russia in key areas, in order to liberate all of its lands from Russian occupation, the Minister explained, adding that building up a three-tiered air defense system is one such crucial element Ukraine will need in the coming months.
He noted that meanwhile, the defense industries of Western countries are gradually spooling up, ensuring Ukraine and its partners will be able to replenish their reserves in a sustained, systematic way.
“Several steps were taken to that end during Ramstein-5,” Reznikov added.
“The need of further military-industrial investments, responding to the Russian threat, will be discussed during a coming NATO meeting.”
Troop training is another pillar of sustained growth of Ukraine’s defense capacity.
“We have a wide range of needs – from individual skills, to battalion-wide exercises and staff officer training,” said Reznikov.
The minister noted that the UK-led training program for Ukrainian troops is well-underway, and has since been joined by Canada, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and New Zealand.
“This one program alone will see 30,000 troops returning to Ukraine fully-trained and ready for combat – with skills and well-equipped,” Reznikov said, adding that similar initiatives are being set up by Poland and the EU.
The minister suggested similar programs could be established in other neighboring countries.