The United States believes that the Ukrainian military counteroffensive underway since June against the Russian invader “continues to advance steadily,” while “brave Ukrainian troops are breaking through the heavily fortified lines of the Russian army of aggression,” Lloyd Austin said on Tuesday. Secretary of Defense. Austin thus evaluated Ukraine's counteroffensive at the beginning of a new meeting of allied countries to coordinate military aid to Kyiv, which is being held at the US air base in Ramstein (Germany).
In words at the beginning of the work, which brings together defense ministers and chiefs of staff from 50 allied countries and which will conclude this afternoon, Austin maintained that “Ukraine's recent advances also depend on the crucial capabilities provided by the members of this Contact Group, and your shared commitment will be vital during the current battles and for the long road ahead.” For the first time, the new Ukrainian Minister of Defense, Rustém Umérov, participates.
Lloyd estimated the value of direct military aid to Ukraine from allied countries that support the country at 76 billion dollars (71 billion euros). According to data from the end of July from the Kiel Institute of World Economy (IfW), which counts the weapons promised and delivered to Ukraine since the beginning of the invasion, the countries of the European Union (EU) and NATO have committed to provide nearly 95 billion euros in military aid.
The Ramstein meeting comes as Kyiv asks the United States and Germany to supply it with cruise missiles whose greater range would allow the Ukrainian army to better repel Russian bombings, in the midst of the Ukrainian counteroffensive. The United States is evaluating sending ATACMS missiles equipped with cluster bombs to Ukraine, while Germany has recalled regarding its Taurus cruise missiles that it acts in coordination with Washington in terms of arms deliveries.
Germany will provide Ukraine with a new essentially military aid package worth 400 million euros, but has not yet decided on the Taurus missiles, the Ministry of Defense announced on Monday. The German minister of the sector, Boris Pistorius, does not participate in the meeting after testing positive for coronavirus. Since the beginning of the Russian invasion and despite the controversies, Germany has been a major contributor to supporting Kyiv, having provided some €22 billion in humanitarian, financial and military aid.
These periodic meetings of the so-called Contact Group began two months after the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and this is the fifteenth; They are not always held in Ramstein, several have taken place in Brussels.