Item No. 1 on today's agenda is the strengthening of Ukrainian air defense
The “malice and cruelty” of Russia’s recent escalation has only deepened allies’ commitment to supporting Ukraine, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Wednesday.
Austin’s remarks opened the sixth meeting of the U.S.-led Ukraine Defense Contact Group, also known as the “Ramstein format,” a coalition of some 50 countries that have pledged military assistance to Ukraine. The gathering is happening on the sidelines of a NATO defense ministerial meeting at the military alliance’s headquarters in Belgium.
The meetings come two days after Russia launched a series of missile strikes on civilian targets across Ukraine, prompting calls for allies to send additional weapons, particularly advanced air-defense systems, to Kyiv.
At a press conference to open the meetings, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Ukraine had an urgent need for air defense and called on allies to send additional military aid.
Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov is in Brussels for the meetings. He is expected to present a list of priorities for additional weapons, ammunition and equipment.