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Ramstein-17 prepares assistance to Ukraine: Air Defense Coalition and signals to Putin

Ramstein-17 prepares assistance to Ukraine: Air Defense Coalition and signals to Putin U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin (Photo: Getty Images)

Allies of Ukraine met again in the Ramstein format today, November 22, 2023. The focus was on strengthening Ukrainian air defense (AD) and supporting troops on the front line.

RBC-Ukraine provides statements and initial results of the seventeenth Ramstein meeting.

Preparing the material, the broadcast of the introductory part of Ramstein-17, statements by U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, German Defense Ministry's Boris Pistorius, and releases on military aid from Ukraine's allies were used.

The online meeting started at 3:00 pm Kyiv time. Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin opened the negotiations involving defense ministers from about 50 countries. He talked about his recent visit to Kyiv, meetings with the country's leadership, and the military.

"And my message to them was simple: We will continue to stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes. We are focused on supporting Ukraine as it continues to fight through this winter and defend its critical infrastructure," said the head of the Pentagon.

Harsh message to Putin

Austin emphasized that the Ukrainian people have demonstrated the ability to resist Vladimir Putin's aggression for 20 months. He recalled President Joe Biden's words: when tyrants don't pay a price for their aggression, they continue to menace the world.

"None of us wants to live in a world where bullies like Putin can invade their peaceful neighbor with impunity. And we refuse to let that shape of global security be dictated by autocrats who rely on repression by force at home and coercion by force abroad. We have gathered today because we share a vision of a world that's free, open, flourishing, prosperous, and secure. And I am proud that this history-making Contact Group has committed more than $80 billion in security assistance to Ukraine. Our unity sends a clear message to Putin that he cannot outlast us or prevail in a contest of wills," he noted.

According to him, Putin is now forced to seek support from Iran and North Korea, and in October, a delegation of HAMAS terrorists visited Moscow.

"Both Ukraine and Israel are facing relentless foes who are out to annihilate them. And we see that Iran is fueling conflict in both Gaza and Ukraine by arming HAMAS and Putin. Iran's support for the Kremlin and HAMAS harms Ukraine and harms stability in the Middle East, and it affects the rules-based international order," Austin added.

Focus on AD. The new coalition is to strengthen Ukraine's capabilities

The head of the Pentagon assured that at the time of the global challenge, the United States is fully capable of continuing robust support for Ukraine, even when supporting Israel.

"So as Ukraine faces another winter of war, I urge this group to provide Ukraine with air-defense capabilities to protect its people," said Lloyd Austin.

According to him, allies need to "think creatively" about meeting Ukraine's needs. He reminded me about the $100 million US military package (including the HIMARS system, Stinger missiles, artillery shells, etc.) and Germany's package of 1.3 billion euros with critical AD systems and 155mm ammunition.

As Austin pointed out, the current meeting has a significant agenda, including progress in creating a coalition for ground-based air defense (GBAD).

"I appreciate the leadership of Germany and France in organizing this important initiative. Last week, they held their first virtual coalition discussion.

"And we are marshalling resources from across this Contact Group to support these efforts... Putin stands alone. But we stand together. And we will continue to support the forces of freedom in Ukraine," added the U.S. Defense Secretary.

"The only language Moscow can understand is force. And Ukraine have mastered this language well."

Ukrainian Minister of Defense Rustem Umırov stated that the Defense Forces have pushed military ships out of the Black Sea and gradually restored freedom of navigation even without their powerful military fleet.

"Russia definitely does not plan to stop on its own. The only language Moscow can understand is force. And we have mastered this language well," he noted.

According to him, since the last meeting in the Ramstein format (on October 11), Russia has lost almost 36,000 soldiers in six weeks. The supplied weapons - HIMARS systems, Storm Shadow, SCALP, ATACMS missiles, Abrams, Challenger, and Leopard tanks - have changed the situation on the front.

New assistance from Ukraine's partners

The current Ramstein takes place after key allies' defense chiefs visit Kyiv. In particular, on Monday, Lloyd Austin arrived, met with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Defense Minister Rustem Umerov, and announced a $100 million package.

It includes:

  • Stinger anti-aircraft missiles
  • High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) and additional ammunition
  • 155mm and 105mm artillery shells
  • TOW missiles, Javelin anti-tank complexes, and AT-4
  • Over 3 million rounds, obstacle demolition ammunition, cold weather gear, spare parts, technical maintenance, and other auxiliary equipment.

Austin arrived against the backdrop of the absence of additional funding for assistance to Ukraine. Earlier, the Pentagon repeatedly urged the U.S. Congress to approve funding, as the latest aid packages are much smaller due to their lack.

President Joe Biden recently approved a temporary two-month budget to avoid a shutdown. At the same time, it does not provide funding for Ukraine. The White House insists on $106 billion for Ukraine ($61 billion), Israel, and border protection. Due to some Republicans blocking assistance, House spokesperson Mike Johnson (Republican Party) suggested breaking it down into separate bills. Biden was warned that a different package for Israel would be vetoed. Western media write that the situation is unlikely to be resolved by mid-December.

Also, on the eve, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius visited Kyiv and announced a package of 1.3 billion euros, including four IRIS-T type AD systems. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy clarified that it is concerned about producing new systems and missiles for them.

Currently, three IRIS-T systems are deployed in Ukraine, and by the end of the year, German partners are supposed to transfer two more. It follows that the announced 4 IRIS-T SLM (medium-range) are only ordered for production and will be delivered later, approximately in 2025. The supply of up to 4 complexes is also planned for 2024. Ukraine receives them in the SLS modification - short-range.

In addition, the German package will include 20 thousand 155mm artillery shells, 60 reconnaissance drones, about 20 radars to combat drones, and anti-tank mines.

According to Pistorius, Kyiv has no good news regarding the Taurus long-range aviation missiles, which Ukraine is asking for deliveries. At the same time, he assured that Berlin would deliver another 140 thousand 155mm caliber shells next year.

Updated as of 17:15


The information on military assistance to Ukraine has been updated on the Bundeswehr website. The list includes:

  • 20 infantry fighting vehicles Marder (total of 80)
  • armored recovery and evacuation vehicle WiSENT (total of 12)
  • 2 trucks HX81 + 2 semi-trailers for HX81 (total of 79 and 74)
  • 5 medical vehicles Bronco ATTC Warthog (total of 10)
  • 2 medical vehicles Mercedes-Benz Unimog (total of 49)
  • 9 units of automotive equipment (total of 309)
  • 2380 artillery shells of 155mm caliber (total of over 19,000)
  • 2428 encrypted phones (total of 2667)


The Lithuanian Armed Forces have delivered 3 million cartridges of caliber 7.62x51 mm for small arms. Additionally, the Ukrainian side received remote detonation systems and winter gear.

What happened at the previous Ramstein

The previous meeting took place on October 11 in an in-person format. The peculiarity of the Brussels meeting was that, for the first time, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy participated in the negotiations. In his address to the allies, he emphasized that strengthening air defense (AD) would bring a just end to the war for Ukraine and keep the war away from NATO borders.

"Missiles and drones will not fall in Romania or Poland, or anywhere if they cannot overcome the defense of Ukrainian skies," he said, calling to provide the Ukrainian army with everything necessary to continue pressing on Russian occupiers without pauses.

Key outcomes of Ramstein-16:

  • United States - a $200 million package with AD ammunition, shells, missiles, and anti-tank weapons
  • United Kingdom - €115 million for demining and equipment maintenance
  • Denmark - transfer of F-16 fighters in early 2024
  • Finland - assistance of €95 million
  • Canada - $25 million for winter uniforms for the military and preparation for the winter campaign
  • Belgium - training of F-16 pilots, supply of fighters from 2025
  • Norway - $18.5 million for demining
  • Spain - additional AD systems, warm uniforms, generators, and €1.5 million for demining
  • Germany - additional missiles and tanks
  • Bulgaria - a memorandum of cooperation in the direction of cybersecurity, strategic communications, and assistance with language courses for F-16 pilots
  • Lithuania - two NASAMS anti-aircraft missile systems, 155mm caliber shells, generators, army beds, and warm uniforms for the winter campaign.