Ukraine’s army says it has recaptured territory from Russians in the East and South, Norway and the United States announce new aid

New meeting of allies to coordinate deliveries of arms and ammunition to Ukraine

Representatives of more than 40 countries and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg met on Thursday at the US base in Ramstein for the fifth meeting of the Ukrainian Defense Contact Group, chaired by the American Minister of Defense, Lloyd Austin. In particular, they must address the challenges posed by the conflict in terms of arms production.

“Ammunition consumption is very important in this war in Ukraine”, explained the American chief of staff, general Mark Milley, to the reporters who accompanied him. The goal is “to try to determine the needs, the demands and then compare them with the supply, whether it is the stocks of the countries or what the industry can do” defense, he added on the plane that brought him from Washington.

Artillery was decisive in the battle. Especially hungry for projectiles of all kinds, the Ukrainian and Russian armies launched a war of ammunition attrition, its stocks are significant. Ukraine has been conducting a counter-offensive in the south of its territory since last week, and President Zelensky has repeatedly stated that he wants to continue. “all regions under Russian occupation”including Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in 2014.

Ukraine has run out of all Russian-made weapons, and its defense is completely dependent on Western military aid. For its part, Russia turned to North Korea to buy more rockets and artillery shells, according to Washington.

The United States, the main supplier of military aid to Ukraine, has already pledged to provide 13.5 billion dollars worth of various weapons, especially Javelin anti-tank missiles, artillery pieces and shells compatible with NATO artillery. system.

Washington also provided the Ukrainian forces with Himars precision artillery systems and their GPS-guided rockets called GMLRS (Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System), which have a range of more than 80 kilometers, which are widely used. in the south and east of the country. kyiv wants longer ATACMS type weapons (Army Tactical Missile System, tactical ballistic missile intended for M270 MLRS multiple rocket launcher and M142 Himars system), which can hit 300 kilometers, but the United States refuses, fears that these missiles are aimed at targets on Russian territory, which could lead to an expansion of the conflict. “Current US policy is that we do not send ATACMS”recalled General Milley. “We have had this conversation several times with my counterpart and other Ukrainian officials. »

“We sent Himars (…) with the GMLRS, and these systems have proven to be highly effective against Russian forces”he added. “We believe that the size of Himars is sufficient to meet the needs of the Ukrainians in their current fight. »

The United States alone provides three quarters of the shells of NATO standards, explained the spokesman of the American staff, Colonel Dave Butler. “More than ten countries in the contact group have provided 155 millimeter caliber artillery pieces, and fifteen countries have donated 155 millimeter ammunition”he pointed out.

All arms donations to Ukraine are calculated not to weaken the military capabilities of the donor countries, but ammunition stocks must be replenished regularly, so it is necessary to revive the production of the defense industry, the spokesman explained. “U.S. ammunition supplies to Ukraine are not tied specifically to the annual production capability of a given armament in the U.S. defense industry, but that production capability is one of the factors considered”he concluded.

Also read: “In Ukraine as elsewhere, it is the combination of weapons and effects that make the difference”

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