NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the newly delivered military vehicles will be used to provide urgent support to Ukrainian troops on the battlefield. Photo of the Press Office of the President of Ukraine/UPI License photo
April 27 (UPI) — NATO allies have delivered nearly all the combat vehicles promised to Ukraine to bolster the country’s defenses against the ongoing Russian invasion, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced Thursday in Brussels.
More than 98% of the reinforced military vehicles have already arrived in Ukraine, consisting of 1,550 armored personnel carriers, 230 tanks and other combat equipment, including huge amounts of ammunition, Stoltenberg said during a press conference at NATO headquarters.
Stoltenberg said the military vehicles will be used to provide urgent support to Ukrainian troops on the battlefield, including medical supplies, mobile satellite communication systems and equipment for the installation of pontoon bridges.
At the press conference, the head of NATO emphasized the introduction of modern air defense systems, advanced digital systems and other high-tech ground equipment, but warned that “we should never underestimate Russia. Because what the Russian forces lack in quality, they try to make up for in quantity.”
Since the start of the war in late February 2022, NATO allies have provided more than $71 billion in military aid and trained tens of thousands of Ukrainian soldiers.
Stoltenberg said NATO allies have also provided Ukraine with a number of armored vehicles, including battle tanks, infantry fighting vehicles and other types of combat vehicles, while the United States has provided more than $35 billion.
In the coming weeks, the US will deliver several missile-launching air defense vehicles and a fleet of US M1 Abrams tanks to Germany to train the Ukrainians, the defense secretary said. Lloyd Austin III said Friday.
Stoltenberg was joined at a briefing on Thursday by Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel, who discussed his country’s contributions to the NATO Ukraine fund, along with a new fleet of tanker transport aircraft.
Stoltenberg also applauded Luxembourg for increasing its national defense budget and encouraged Bettel to invest more in the country’s military in a “more dangerous world”.
“We need to stay the course and continue to give Ukraine what it needs to win,” Stoltenberg said, noting that the alliance had trained and equipped more than nine new Ukrainian armored brigades that would “put Ukraine in a strong position to continue to retake the occupied country territory”.
The announcement also confirmed Ukraine’s imminent entry into the international alliance after Stoltenberg visited Kiev for the first time since the Russian invasion last week, saying “Ukraine’s rightful place is in the Euro-Atlantic family”.
During the visit, Stoltenberg again invited Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to attend the next NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, in July, where the agency plans to announce a multi-year aid package for Ukraine.
“My message is clear – NATO supports Ukraine as much as it needs,” Stoltenberg said on Thursday.
Ukraine is poised to join NATO after Finland officially became a member of the world body earlier this month, expanding the alliance to 31 countries and doubling NATO’s shared border with Russia.
Stoltenberg also expressed hope that “maybe this war will end at the negotiating table,” when asked about the possibility of peace talks following Zelensky’s phone conversation with Chinese President Xi Jinping this week.
“I think it is important for China to better understand Ukraine’s prospects,” Stoltenberg said. “This does not change the fact that China has failed to condemn Russia’s illegal war, illegal invasion of Ukraine, and NATO allies have expressed strong support for President Zelensky’s peace plan, which of course includes full respect for Ukraine’s territorial integrity. “.
Bettel agreed, saying: “Sometimes it’s not so easy to have a dialogue with China, but it’s important, and I think the biggest mistake we can make is to bring China closer to Moscow.”