In recent days, strikes from Russia have been pouring across Ukraine.Pic:AP The United Kingdom will provide Ukraine for the first time with a number of potent missiles to defend itself against Russian airstrikes, but it will not provide the weapons that launch them.
Instead, the air defense systems that the United States will provide to Ukraine will be armed by the AMRAAM rockets, which are capable of destroying cruise missiles.
Western allies, who are meeting this week in Brussels, are having trouble meeting the increasingly urgent requests from the government in Kyiv to protect Ukraine’s skies from Russian missile and drone attacks due to a lack of supply of these systems.
Sky News asked US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who eloquently offered only a partial response, whether the West failed to provide Ukraine with more of these crucial air defense systems sooner because of a lack of political will or supplies.
After chairing a contact group of NATO allies and other partners who have pledged military support for Ukraine, he said on Wednesday at NATO headquarters in Brussels, “Well certainly it’s not a question of lack of will.”
“I told the members of the group that the commitment and determination that the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mike Milley, and I witnessed in this contact group meeting today was inspiring.They will continue to do everything in their power to build more capability.
However, a senior diplomat told Sky News that allies’ inability to respond to Ukraine’s needs was primarily caused by a lack of air defense systems.
Following the end of the Cold War, the United Kingdom and other NATO members reduced their munitions stockpiles, reduced the size of their armed forces, and reduced their defense spending.
Although it takes time to replenish supplies, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has prompted a rethink of funding for their collective security.
In the coming weeks, the British air defense missiles, which are estimated to number in the double digits, will arrive in Ukraine.
Ben Wallace, the defense secretary, said in a Ministry of Defense statement on Thursday that “Russia’s latest indiscriminate strikes on civilian areas in Ukraine warrant further support to those seeking to defend their nation.”
Therefore, I have approved the delivery of AMRAAM anti-aircraft missiles to Ukraine today.
“Alongside the US NASAMS, these weapons will help Ukraine defend its skies from attacks and strengthen their overall missile defense.”
He told Sky News that Western allies would not run out of weapons to support Ukraine because, “unlike Russia,” the West has the ability “to refurbish or indeed manufacture a new supply chain, which is what we’re doing right now,” as NATO defense ministers gathered in Brussels to discuss additional support for the country.
Mr. Wallace stated that he would not “speculate” on NATO’s response to a Russian nuclear attack on Ukraine and added,The fundamentals are as follows: “We are here to ensure that we are ready for whatever is thrown at us. NATO is an alliance of all types, including conventional and nuclear powers.”
Eight National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS) have been pledged by Washington to Ukraine, with the first two expected to arrive soon and the remaining six taking longer.
Another air defense system has been delivered by Germany, and three more are expected to arrive next year.
In addition to the brand-new rockets, the United Kingdom will provide hundreds of drones, 18 additional howitzer artillery guns, hundreds of additional less potent air defense missiles, and more.
Even though Mr. Wallace was not present at the meeting on Wednesday, the announcement came as NATO defense ministers met for a second day on Thursday in Brussels.
They are expected to talk about how to rebuild their own stockpiles of ammunition, work together to find weapons for their security, and keep supporting Ukraine for the foreseeable future.
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