NATO countries are set to announce new “heavier weapons” for Ukraine, the alliance’s chief said, as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called on his backers to speed up their decision-making.
US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin is set to convene a meeting of around 50 countries on Friday at the US-run Ramstein military base in Germany, including all 30 members of the NATO alliance.
“The main message there (in Ramstein) will be more support and more advanced support, heavier weapons, and more modern weapons, because this is a fight for our values,” NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg told the World Economic Forum in Davos.
Many of Ukraine’s allies have announced plans to step up their military support to Kyiv this month despite the risk of antagonising Russia, notably Britain which became the first Western nation to pledge heavy tanks on Saturday.
The United States has promised to send its powerful Bradley armoured fighting vehicles, while France has offered its highly mobile AMX-10 RCs — offensive weapons long seen as off-limits by hesitant Western nations.
Zelensky has pleaded for modern, Western-designed heavy tanks which analysts say are crucial to the ongoing battle in eastern Ukraine where heavy armour is needed to punch through entrenched defensive lines.
Zelensky issued a “call for speed” in a barely veiled reference to Germany where Chancellor Olaf Scholz is weighing whether to greenlight the export of its highly regarded Leopard tanks.—AFP