NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg has called for more heavy weapons to be delivered to Ukraine ahead of a meeting with members today.
Earlier this week, Volodymyr Zelensky‘s top adviser told the West to dramatically step up deliveries, demanding 1,000 howitzers, 300 rocket artillery systems, 500 tanks, 2,000 armoured vehicles and 1,000 drones ‘to end the war’.
Stoltenberg said at The Hague: ‘Ukraine should have more heavy weapons. And Nato allies and partners have provided heavy weapons for a long time, but they are also stepping up.’
NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg has called for more heavy weapons to be delivered to Ukraine ahead of a meeting with members today
The M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System, operated by the Finnish Defence Forces, is pictured during NATO exercises. Zelensky’s adviser said 300 multiple-launch rocket systems are required
Ukrainian servicemen ride BMP-1 infantry fighting vehicle, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Donetsk
He added the matter will be addressed on Wednesday in Brussels at the NATO headquarters of the contact group for support to Ukraine, saying: ‘(Ukrainians) need to be prepped for the long haul, as there is no way to predict how and when this war will end.’
The general secretary added that Ukrainian forces ‘absolutely depend on that to be able to stand up against the brutal Russian invasion’.
Ukraine claims it has received just 10 per cent of the weapons promised by its Western allies.
Deputy defence minister Anna Maylar said: ‘No matter how hard Ukraine tries, no matter how professional our army is, without the help of Western partners we will not be able to win this war.’
She called for a ‘clear timeframe’ for deliveries because every delay risks further losses to Russia.
The Leopard 2 tank, which Spain has considered sending to Ukraine, is seen during NATO military exercises in Lithuania last month
Ukraine’s ‘shopping list’
– 1,000 howitzers, chambered in 155mm NATO-standard shells
– 300 multiple-launch rocket systems (MLRS)
– 500 tanks
– 2,000 armoured vehicles
– 1,000 drones
She added: ‘We can’t wait very long, because the situation is very complicated.’
Zelensky meanwhile told reporters that he regretted what he called ‘the restrained behaviour of some leaders’ which, he said, had ‘slowed down arms supplies very much’.
He said: ‘If there’s no speeding-up of weapons deliveries… people will continue dying. If we are given weapons, we’ll move forward.’
Kyiv’s forces face an increasingly desperate situation in Severodonetsk, with Ukrainian authorities estimating the Russians now control up to 80 percent of the city as they seek to encircle it.
Zelensky advisor Mykhailo Podolyak said Monday that Kyiv needs 1,000 howitzers, 300 rocket artillery systems, 500 tanks, 2,000 armoured vehicles and 1,000 drones.
The eye-watering shopping list amounts to an army’s-worth of Western equipment and goes well beyond both what has been supplied so far and what Ukraine itself has been requesting.
Put in context, 500 new tanks would be more than the UK and Germany have in active service combined, while 1,000 howitzers and 300 rocket launchers is more than the US currently has in active service.
The US has supplied a little over 100 howtizers to Ukraine so far while the US and UK combined are thought to have sent seven rocket systems.
Ukraine has asked its Western allies to supply an additional 1,000 artillery guns in order to put them on a level footing with Russian forces in the Donbas (pictured, a US M777 howitzer)
Ukraine also wants another 500 tanks which it says are needed to ‘win’ against Russia (pictured, the German Leopard 2 tank which Spain was considering sending to Kyiv)
Zelensky’s adviser said 300 multiple-launch rocket systems are also required, with the US and UK having sent just seven so far (pictured, M270 MLRS)
Berlin has committed to supplying weapons to Kyiv – including cutting edge anti-air systems and howitzers – but they have still not arrived in the country.
Chancellor Scholz has also blocked or delayed supplies of other equipment, such as Marder armoured vehicles which manufacturer Rheinmetall has offered to donate, and German-made Leopard 2 tanks which Spain offered last week.
Joe Biden has not placed hard limits on what the US is willing to give, only saying his objective is to achieve ‘a democratic, independent, sovereign and prosperous Ukraine with the means to deter and defend itself against further aggression.’
Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte added: ‘In terms of weaponry, we stand united here that it is crucial for Russia to lose the war.
‘And as we cannot have a direct confrontation between NATO troops and Russia, what we need to do is make sure that Ukraine can fight that war, that it has access to all the necessary weaponry.’
Asked about Sweden and Finland’s applications to join the alliance, Stoltenberg said he was seeking ‘a united way forward’ to resolve opposition from Turkey, which has been angered by what it deems as Swedish support of Kurdish militants.