The United States Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austinaccused Russian President Vladimir Putin of NATO expansion on Friday, thus refuting one of the main arguments put forward by the Kremlin to justify the start of the invasion of Ukraine.
“Putin’s chosen war has not happened as a result of NATO expansion. Putin’s war became the reason for the expansion of NATO.”Austin warned during his speech at the eleventh meeting of the Contact Group for Ukraine at the US base in Ramstein, Germany.
“He thought that Ukraine would not dare to fight back, but Ukraine stands firm with the help of its partners. Putin thought that our unity would split, but the brutal war chosen by Russia only brought us together, ”he claimed.
In this meeting participated Finland for the first time as a full member of the Atlantic Alliance; his definitive accession was confirmed a couple of weeks ago now. “Here today as a new NATO ally. I hope that Sweden follow soon,” Austin said.
In recent months, this group headed by NATO defense ministers has managed to supply Ukraine with more than 230 tanks and 1,550 other types of armored vehicles, as well as equipment and ammunition.
On the other hand, the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the United States, General Mark Milleyannounced that “in a few weeks” the Ukrainian forces will receive the first training tanks to learn the use of the long-awaited Abrams, one of kyiv’s main demands.
“There is no single solution in war, but in this case, as soon as they arrive Abrams tanks and they reach their operational capabilities, they will be very effective on the battlefield,” said General Milley.
“War of Attrition”
On the other hand, the Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, underlined this Friday the importance of logistics in the “war of attrition” being waged on Ukrainian soil and said he expected announcements in this direction at the meeting of the Contact Group for Ukraine at the US Ramstein base in Germany.
“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,” Stoltenberg told reporters before the start of the meeting.
In this regard, he stated that he would welcome any announcements that NATO allies and partners may make regarding additional support for Ukraine and not only in terms of new platforms, but also “for maintain existing platforms”. And he argued: “I think that sometimes we underestimate all the logistics necessary just to have operational tanks.”
Regarding the type of weapons Ukraine needs, Stoltenberg pointed out that Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelensky referred yesterday at their meeting in Kiev to different types of weapons, including everything from anti-aircraft defense to heavy armor and fighters.
Stoltenberg recalled that on Thursday in Kiev he declared that “the future of Ukraine is in the Euro-Atlantic family” and that all NATO partners have agreed that Ukraine should become a member of the Alliance. But the main objective now, he pointed out, is, “naturally, to ensure that Ukraine prevails” and that President Putin “does not win the war”, because “without a sovereign and independent Ukraine there is no point in discussing an accession”.
(With information from EuropaPress and EFE)
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