“Ukraine clearly thinks they can win. All who are here too. » This is how the American Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin, expressed the state of mind of the participants at the opening of a multilateral meeting organized on Tuesday, April 26, at the American air base in Ramstein, in the United States. west of Germany.
Nearly forty states were represented at this unique forum, bringing together many NATO members, but also countries from Asia and the Middle East. The objective was to collectively assess Ukraine’s military needs, two months after the start of the war launched by Russia, and to record the high probability of a long-term conflict. What Lloyd Austin summed up in a formula: “Help strengthen the arsenal of Ukrainian democracy. »
Since the beginning of the conflict, nearly 5 billion dollars (4.7 billion euros) of military equipment have been provided to Ukraine by the United States and its allies, including 3.7 billion dollars by Washington . “We must act at the speed of war”, said Austin on Tuesday. During his press conference, he announced that a Contact Group on Ukraine would meet monthly, face-to-face or online, to continue coordinating this support effort. The United States emphasizes the unprecedented speed with which these arms deliveries are carried out. Only seventy-two hours pass between the moment a new tranche is validated by President Joe Biden and their actual reception in Ukraine.
This meeting was organized in the wake of the trip by Mr. Austin and the Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, to kyiv on 24 April. A visit marked by great confidentiality for security reasons. The videos and photos released once the two American officials were outside Ukraine showed a strong complicity, not only political, but also human, with the Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky.
Daily bilateral contacts have helped put the fate of Ukraine at the heart of American policy, such as the relationship between Lloyd Austin and the Ukrainian Minister of Defense, Oleksii Reznikov, also present on Tuesday at the base of Ramstein. Officially, the strategy has been the same since the start of the war: economic sanctions against Russia, consultations with the allies, arms deliveries, but no direct military involvement on the ground.
“We want to see Russia weakened”
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