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Air defense, Leopard tanks, and more: Outcomes of Ramstein meeting

Air defense, Leopard tanks, and more: Outcomes of Ramstein meeting Photo: Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin and Ukrainian Defense Minister Rustem Umerov (Getty Images)

Ukraine's Western allies held another meeting in the Ramstein format. The partners made a number of statements and announced the delivery of military aid.

RBC-Ukraine has collected the most important information.

Sources: the briefing by Pentagon Chief Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Charles Brown, statements by the Defense Ministries of Spain, Germany, and the Netherlands, and a statement by Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis.

More ammunition promised, and other commitments made by the US

At the briefing, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said that the participants of the meeting discussed defense operations along the entire front line, including around Kharkiv. According to him, Ukrainian troops face challenges, but Russia is already paying a high price for its aggression.

"Ukraine is fighting for its life — which gives it the huge strategic advantage of a just cause. Meanwhile, Putin is trying to wage a 19th-century war of imperial aggression in the world of 2024. That's a terrible idea and a terrible strategy," Lloyd Austin said.

Within the Ramstein framework, partners dedicated a significant amount of time to discussing deliveries of air defense systems, focusing on priority requests. Austin recalled the $400 million package, which included ammunition for NASAMS and HIMARS systems, new armored vehicles, etc.

"We are again delivering urgently needed assistance to Ukraine. That includes 155-millimeter artillery rounds and ammunition for HIMARS. Much more assistance is on the way," he emphasized.

He also discussed whether the Ukrainian Armed Forces could use American weapons to strike targets in Russia. According to him, the weapons are primarily provided to hit close targets.

Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Charles Brown clarified that it is ultimately up to Ukraine to decide, but as a rule, American weapons are not used at long distances today. As for the occupied Crimea, Ukraine has the right to strike enemy targets on the peninsula.

He also clarified a recent statement about the work of American military advisers. As for 2022, joint exercises were held. When the war is over, the United States and Ukraine will intensify the exchange of combat practices.

Answering the question about missile strikes, Brown assured that ATACMS had not been used on Russian territory. Finally, Austin was asked whether Ukraine could shoot down planes with guided bombs over Russia.

"We have been clear about providing Ukraine the ability to defend its sovereign territory. Our expectation is that they continue to use weapons that we provided on targets inside of Ukraine. The aerial dynamics will be different," Austin said.

New batch of Leopard tanks from Spain

Spanish Minister of Defense, Margarita Robles, confirmed Spain's commitment to supporting Ukraine. She also noted that Madrid intends to continue providing the support Ukraine requires as urgently as possible.

She announced a significant aid package that will be provided with the participation of the Spanish defense industry.

Among other things, the Ukrainian party will receive the second batch of Leopard tanks by the end of June. Additionally, various types of ammunition, 155mm artillery guns, and Patriot anti-aircraft missiles will be delivered. Anti-drone systems, surveillance and tracking systems, and turrets will also be included.

In the long term, support will be secured by signing a bilateral security agreement with Ukraine.

Allies join German initiative on air defense systems

The German Ministry of Defense has reported that partners have agreed to support the German initiative to strengthen Ukraine's air defense systems.

“The result of the online meeting of the Contact Group of Ukraine: numerous partners want to support the German initiative to strengthen Ukrainian air defense systems,” the official X account said.

It is also specified that Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, and Canada are ready to finance the strengthening of air defense. The United States, the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Romania, Belgium, and Lithuania are ready to provide equipment and interceptor missiles.

It should be noted that Berlin announced the new initiative in April. It has become known that Germany will provide a third Patriot battery, the United States may provide another, and the Netherlands and other allies are ready, according to Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba, to purchase such systems at any price.

The Netherlands will transfer YPR armored vehicles

The YPRs are equipped with remote-controlled weapon systems (RCWS). The armored vehicles are capable of providing fire support on the battlefield.

“It is very important that we continue to support Ukraine. These types of armored vehicles are very important. They are maneuverable, can move troops quickly, and can be used for reconnaissance, offensive and defensive purposes. And the remote-controlled weapons provide the shooter with additional security,” said Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren.

The YPRs will be delivered as soon as possible. There is no exact information on the number, but the Netherlands has previously transferred 207 YPRs of various types.

Lithuania is ready to send military instructors to Ukraine

As stated by Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Gabrielius Landsbergis, on the French TV channel LCI, his country is ready to join French President Emmanuel Macron's proposal to send Western instructors.

According to him, Vilnius could return the instructors who were in Ukraine before the full-scale invasion. This is an urgent and necessary measure.

Lithuania is ready to join the coalition to train the Ukrainian military, led, for example, by France,” he said.

Earlier, it was reported that Estonia would provide Ukraine with means to strengthen cyberspace.

In addition, Canada has announced that it will provide the first 10 of 50 ACSV 8x8 armored personnel carriers. Initially, they will arrive in Germany in the summer, where the Ukrainian military will train. They may appear on the battlefield this fall.

It was also reported that Australia will provide drones and a large batch of portable air defense missile systems to RBS for $100 million.