The so called Contact Group for the Defense of Ukraine met this Friday at the US base in Ramstein (Germany) to discuss the current situation of the course of the war in the country invaded by Russia and the possible subsequent support that each ally is willing to offer.
Germany, Poland and Ukraine announced that they will create an operational center in Poland, very close to the Ukrainian border, for the «Leopard 2» battle tanks. There, the maintenance and repair of these armored vehicles will be carried out, which will be provided by these countries together with Finland, Portugal, Spain and Canada jointly in order to send them to the front faster.
Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov, He was satisfied with the results of the meeting in Ramstein in an interview with German public television ZDF, where he assured that he had the opportunity to explain his country’s arms needs in detail. According to the minister, the main topic of the meeting was ammunition and he stressed that “More than 50 countries are represented in Ramstein” who support them and that “shipments are never enough”, after thanking them for their support.
“For Germany, there has been a real ‘zeitenwende’ [giro] in the last year,” the German Defense Minister explained to the press after the meeting. “Sending weapons to a conflict zone is something new,” Boris Pistorius said, emphasizing that “Germany is currently Ukraine’s biggest supporter along with the United States and the United Kingdom.” A hundred soldiers will begin training in Germany in the use of the “Leopard 1 A5” tanks next week, the minister said. Eighty of those main battle tanks will be shipped to Ukraine in June. “Putin cannot play with time, because we are going to hold out,” explained the Social Democratic minister, who highlighted that the Bundestag approved a few weeks ago until additional 12 billion “so that Ukraine can count on Germany “as long as it take” (as long as it takes), said Pistorius, noting the last words in English.
According to information from Business Insider published yesterday, Berlin has asked Greece to develop tanks of the “Leopard 1” type. The country has a fleet of around 500 combat tanks of this type, out of the total of 800 that European countries have, according to the newspaper. Berlin will bear the costs of preparing a hundred of these tanks, although the German magazine assures that there are some complications in the negotiations, since until January, the Greek prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsokatis, refused to hand over tanks «Leopard».
The United States, for its part, is preparing the shipment of about thirty «Abrams» tanks, as reported by the AP agency. The cars will be shipped next week and the announcement had been made to the agency at the Ramstein meeting. The training will take place on German soil, at the Grafenwoehr military base, where some 250 Ukrainian soldiers will train from May.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg referred to the importance of logistics in the “war of attrition” being waged in Ukraine over ammunition production. “Maybe it sounds a bit more boring, but the logistics are extremely important. This is now a war of attrition, and a war of attrition becomes a war of logistics,” he explained at the beginning of the meeting. Stoltenberg had recalled the day before that the Alliance’s priority is to ensure that Ukraine defends itself against invasion by Russia. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has also been invited to the next NATO meeting in Vilnius in July and has accepted the invitation.
The meeting had been awaited with expectation, especially in relation to a possible air coalition, which has not been announced and which has been claimed by Ukraine on numerous occasions. The German press headlines that it is Pistorius who would have stopped this joint effort. The German minister assured that the combat planes that Germany has would not be suitable for Ukraine and stressed that Berlin needs its “Tornado” planes for the transport of nuclear weapons in the event of an aggression against NATO.
Poland and Slovakia have offered planes to Ukraine of Soviet construction and Pistorius believes that with them the Ukrainian Army is better armed: «Ukrainian pilots are better helped with planes that can fly in a short time, that can be repaired on the spot and of which they know the technique».
Entry into NATO, on the other hand, is not seen to be forthcoming. “No, Germany has never been critical of the entry [de Ucrania] in NATO. We have simply said that this is not the time to discuss it. And that is the position of the NATO allies as a whole, not only now, by the way, but already in Madrid,” Pistorius said. “Everyone foresees Ukraine becoming a NATO partner in the future, but Still a long way to go. The task now is to ensure that Ukraine maintains the upper hand in this war and that the war eventually ends in Ukraine’s favour. If not, there will be no need to discuss NATO membership,” he added.