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Ramstein anniversary: Ukraine's expectations from allies meeting

Ramstein anniversary: Ukraine's expectations from allies meeting Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin and Ukrainian Defense Minister Rustem Umerov (Getty Images)

The latest Ramstein meeting is set to take place today, April 26. It was two years ago on this day that the Ukraine Defense Contact Group began its work. At the upcoming session, allies plan to revise the format of assistance. They will also discuss the issues that have accumulated during the wait for the support package from the United States.

RBС-Ukraine has compiled all the known details about the meeting in the article below.

Sources used: statement from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, announcements on the portal of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, statement from Pentagon spokesman Patrick Ryder.


Key points about Ramstein-21

The Ukraine Defense Contact Group will convene today in an online format. This will be the 21st meeting since the format was established exactly two years ago, as the first consultative meeting took place at the American airbase in Germany on April 26, 2022.

Ramstein-21 will be led by US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin along with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Charles Brown. Senior military officials from countries that are allies of Ukraine in countering full-scale aggression from the Russian Federation will be present at the negotiations.

As Pentagon spokesman Patrick Ryder said, the group consists of 50 states and remains the only one in countering Russian invasion.

"It is notable that despite Russia's assumptions that the international community would fragment and lose interest in supporting Ukraine over time, the opposite has been true," Ryder said.

He also emphasized that "Ukraine's security matters to the security of all of our nations", and there is international consensus on this issue.

Ukraine's expectations from the meeting

The Contact Group meeting comes just days after the approval of a large support package from the United States worth over $60 billion, which Ukraine has been awaiting for the past 6 months.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced that the meeting will discuss ways to overcome the problems that have accumulated during the delay in assistance.

"We will discuss, among other things, how to overcome the difficulties and problems that have accumulated over the past six months while we have been waiting for decisions on American support," the president said.

The head of state added that the issue of resuming assistance has been resolved at the political level. Now it is necessary to address issues regarding the provision of packages with necessary armaments, as well as logistical issues.

Not individually, but in coalitions. Format of ally assistance to change

During the operation of Ramstein, a number of coalitions for military support were created. Allies provided assistance both individually and joined forces to supply Ukraine with certain types of armaments, tanks, air defense systems, and fighters. In total, 8 coalitions have been formed since 2023.

On the eve of the 21st meeting of the Contact Group, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense announced that the format of assistance is being modified into what's being termed as Ramstein 2.0.

This entails that from now on, Ukraine's allies will predominantly provide support not on an individual basis, but in a coalition format and according to the identified needs.

The Ministry of Defense has also established a Coalition Support Office, which will ensure stable and systematic management of military assistance from allies.

The tasks of the Office will include: coordinating and planning work within coalition capabilities; facilitating interaction between coalitions; analyzing the state of communications with partner countries.

Ramstein meeting two years ago

The Ukraine Defense Contact Group emerged in response to Russian aggression at the initiative of Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin.

The group informally became known as Ramstein after the name of the US Air Force base in the German town of Ramstein-Miesenbach, where the first meeting took place. Austin invited representatives from 40 countries to discuss Ukraine's long-term security needs.

The collaboration began with a meeting on April 26, 2022, where allies mainly discussed how and with what they could assist Ukraine. It was then that the principle of "providing all necessary assistance as quickly as possible" was formulated. More than 30 countries pledged to allocate over $5 billion in the first stage, and Germany expressed readiness to supply self-propelled anti-aircraft guns Gepard.

The participants of Ramstein agreed to hold meetings monthly, and since then, 20 meetings have already taken place. As a result, the capabilities of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in countering the enemy have significantly strengthened. Moreover, Ukraine has begun the transition to NATO weapons.

The defense forces received long-range rocket artillery systems M270, HIMARS, MARS II, Brimstone missiles, Harpoon, ATACMS. Ukrainian air defense was reinforced with NASAMS, Avenger, HAWK, IRIS-T, SAMP-T, and Patriot missile systems.

A tank coalition was formed, leading to the commencement of deliveries of Leopard and Abrams tanks.

Another coalition is working on sending F-16 fighters to Ukraine. It is envisaged that the first aircraft could appear in the sky by the summer of 2024.