NATO countries to discuss sustained support of Ukraine
Troy Crosby, Assistant Deputy Minister (Materiel) at the Department of National Defence will attend an upcoming meeting in Brussels with counterparts of some 50 countries looking at how they will sustain support of Ukraine in its counter-offensive against the invasion by Russia.
Scheduled for 28 September 2022, the “armaments directors” meeting is being coordinated by NATO under the auspices of the 50-nation Ukraine Defence Contract Group (UDCG). The aim is to compare notes on how to ramp up weapons production as well as assess the current state of various supply chains as Ukraine presses its western allies for more weaponry and ammunition.
Crosby and the other directors are expected to compare notes on how to ramp up production of key capabilities. His U.S. opposite number, Bill LaPlante, Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisitions and Sustainability, said last week that they also would discuss how to “increase interoperability between our systems, what I would call increased interchangeability.”
That echoed the tone after a meeting earlier in the month at Ramstein Air Base in Germany, where U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin said the UDCG members are “more united and resolved to keep up our support for Ukraine's right to defend itself” and to find “new and innovative ways to support Ukrainian military and Ukrainian people as they defend their country, their lives and their freedom.”
He suggested that a key element in Ukraine’s increasingly successful counter-offensive is the establishment by Britain of a basic training unit for Ukrainian recruits –where Canadian Armed Forces trainers also are involved. "Getting more trained professional soldiers into the fight is key, especially as Russia sends more and more untrained soldiers into battle.
Austin also specifically thanked Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia for coordinated production of ammunition, spare parts and materiel, and committed the UDCG to “move even faster and push even harder” in supporting Ukraine.
Also at Ramstein, U.S. Army General Mark A. Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, noted the heavy price Ukraine has paid so far in the war: tens of thousands of dead and wounded and about 15 million Ukrainians displaced.
“Yet they remain a free, independent, sovereign,” he added. “Ukraine remains strong and free because of the bravery of its people, the competence of its military, and the support the international community.”