NATO countries have ensured Wednesday that they would not waver in their support for Ukraine, facing President Volodymyr Zelensky, who came as a guest surprise at the Alliance headquarters in New York Brussels to express its concerns before winter.
“We need the support of the leaders, that is why I am here,” declared the Ukrainian president, who had said the day before that he was worried about the consequences on the contribution of the allies to his country of the war between Israel and Hamas, after the attack launched on Saturday by the Palestinian Islamist movement from Gaza.
His participation in this meeting of NATO defense ministers was not originally planned. But the Ukrainian leader preferred to express his concerns and the needs of his country himself before the winter.
Last year, Russia shelled Ukraine's energy infrastructure, repeatedly depriving the population of electricity or heat.
A situation that kyiv and its allies do not want to see happen again.
“We will continue to provide the systems they need,” assured the press the American Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin, whose country is the largest contributor of military aid to Ukraine .
He specified that Ukraine had requested anti-aircraft and artillery defense systems on Wednesday to protect itself from Russian strikes and continue its counter-offensive.
– The battle of winter –< /p>
Mr. Austin had announced earlier in the day new American military aid amounting to $200 million, notably in the form of anti-aircraft defense systems. This aid will bring the total of American military support to 43.9 million dollars, he assured.
“Dear friends, we must win the winter battle against terror,” Zelensky told the member countries of the Ramstein Group, which takes its name from the American base in Germany where these countries met. for the first time to coordinate their military support for Ukraine.
Ukraine: positions of military forces as of October 10 © AFP – Sabrina BLANCHARD, Sophie RAMIS, Nalini LEPETIT-CHELLA
The Ukrainian president is also calling for more missiles, particularly long-range missiles, to strike Russian positions in depth. Ukrainian officials have been urging Germany for several months to deliver Taurus cruise missiles. But German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius, upon his arrival in Brussels, once again postponed a decision on the matter.
Belgium, on the other hand, took advantage of the Ukrainian president's visit to Brussels to announce that it was finally willing to deliver combat planes to Kiev “from 2025”, when initially there was only question of participating in the training of Ukrainians to pilot American F-16s. /p>
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (left) is welcomed by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg during his visit to NATO headquarters in Brussels on October 11, 2023 © AFP – SIMON WOHLFAHRT
A late deadline at a time when the Ukrainian counter-offensive is progressing but without a decisive breakthrough, notably due to a lack of air support, according to experts.
“Ukraine is gaining ground while Russia is losing ground,” assured Mr. Stoltenberg in the afternoon, at the opening of a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Council, the first at the level of ministers of Defense.
– Situation in Israel –
Mr. Zelensky also fears that his allies, starting with the United States, will focus on the situation in Israel, where the dead now number in the thousands.
The aid provided to Israel after the attack launched by Hamas will not thwart support for Ukraine, assured Mr. Austin during a press conference.
Mr. Zelensky and the European countries of the Alliance also fear a erosion of American support.
“Will your support be less than now? And even now, during the electoral period in the United States, you see the challenges there are there. Our partners tell us no, but who knows what will happen, no one knows,” Mr. Zelensky said on this subject during a press briefing at the Following a meeting with Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo.
The United States alone accounts for half of the military aid provided to Ukraine, with the rest coming mainly from other countries members of NATO.
And at NATO headquarters, the Allies know, Europe cannot replace the United States. They have neither the intention nor the means, summarized a European diplomat from the Alliance this week.
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