Ukraine’s Western allies are forming separate coalitions of nations to allocate the labour involved in producing military equipment and ammunition on a long-term approach.
This strategy aims to ensure supply and production chains are running short and moving too slowly to support Ukraine in the long run to repel the Russian war aggression. Western allies dispatch the supplies by specific areas between different groups of countries to ensure efficiency.
With the 20th month of the Russia-Ukraine war ending, NATO countries are looking for ways to maintain military equipment delivery and manufacturing for the Ukrainian Army.
“We’re here to discuss how to balance our immediate support to defend Ukraine with our longer-term assistance,” US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said at the start of the Ukraine Defence Contact Group meeting, known as the Ramstein Format.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who was also present at the conference, had requested increased air defence to defend the country’s critical infrastructures during the winter, anticipating Russian missile attacks and eventual blackouts.
“The next step forward in our long-term vision will be working with our fellow Contact Group members to organise what we’re calling ‘capability coalitions’, responsible for coordinating contributions from coalition members for each major capability area,” Austin stated
Every group of nations would specialise in producing specific defence equipment under the US-led initiative, using a division of labour strategy.
This plan draws on previous coalitions created for Ukraine, such as the Leopard tanks and F-16 training and shipment, and it follows up on the NATO Industrial Action Plan.
With that in mind, “we are asking governments to organise coalitions focused on broader capabilities, beyond just specific platforms,” Austin said.
For example, Estonia and Luxembourg will lead an IT alliance, while the United States and the Netherlands will lead an air force coalition.
Dutch Defence Minister Kajsa Ollongren said that, Denmark, the country’s co-leader in the F-16 coalition, will deliver the first aircraft in April 2024.
Dutch Defense Minister has said that Dutch F-16 fighter jets, which will be used to train Ukrainian pilots, will be sent to a new training centre in Romania in a few weeks. She did not provide a timetable for Dutch deliveries.
The Netherlands and Denmark led a group of countries that wanted to help Ukraine get F-16s to counter Russia’s full-scale aggression.
The NATO strategy on long-term weapons production will benefit Ukraine only, and NATO members will need to find another method to refill their weapons stockpiles, the Alliance spokesman said.
According to NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, Russia’s war in Ukraine is a “war of attrition.”
“We realised we are not capable of taking into our own stock in the long run, so we need to engage with industry and ramp up production,” Stoltenberg stated.
Jens Stoltenberg repeated that NATO stockpile capability targets had been changed. According to Stoltenberg, NATO inked framework contracts worth €2.4 billion for the allies, including €1 billion in firm purchases for “critical needs such as 155-millimeter artillery, anti-tank guided missiles, and Main Battle Tank ammunition.”
In response to Zelenskyy, who said, “There is a risk that international attention will turn away from Ukraine, and that will have consequences” in an interview with France 2 broadcaster on Wednesday (11 October), Llyod Austin reiterated that US attention and weapons would not shift from Ukraine to Israel.
“We’re here to deliver what it takes, for as long as it takes, so that Ukraine can live in freedom,” Austin declared.
Meanwhile, Ukraine’s supporters have promised further military assistance packages. Canada declared millions of euros in winter gear and equipment, Germany concentrated on Patriot and IRIS-T air defence systems, and the United Kingdom supplied air defence and de-mining equipment.
The German Ministry of Defense announced a “winter package” of military assistance to Kyiv, totalling about 1 billion euros. The package will also include 10 more Leopard 1A5 tanks, three additional Gepard self-propelled anti-aircraft guns, twenty medevacs and 15 armoured vehicles, which will be in Ukraine “in the next few weeks.”
Ukraine’s Defense Minister Rustem Umerov said that following the Ramstein meeting, Ukraine received half a billion dollars in military aid.