NATO will help Ukraine switch to Western weapons to defend itself against the invaded Russian army. These are more modern than the Soviet-made weapons on which the country has so far mainly relied, says NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg.
In addition, NATO countries’ stocks of Soviet weapons are running out.
The NATO countries will agree on new support for Ukraine at their summit in Madrid in two weeks, Stoltenberg expects. It should “make it possible for Ukrainians to move from old Soviet-era equipment to more modern standard NATO equipment,” said the secretary-general. This also allows the distressed country to better cooperate militarily with NATO. “We are extremely focused on ramping up support.”
Until now, Ukraine has mainly received weapons from the old arsenals of former Eastern bloc countries such as Poland and Romania. The Ukrainian army can deploy them quickly and easily because they are familiar with them. The other NATO countries are supplying replacement weapons and ammunition to replenish the stocks of eastern allies.
But the war continues and Russia threatens to gain the upper hand with its artillery. Kyiv urges the rapid delivery of additional and heavier weapons. NATO countries are now training Ukrainian soldiers to use Western weaponry such as the armoured howitzers that the Netherlands and Germany have promised Ukraine.
Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelensky is welcome at the summit in Madrid, Stoltenberg said. But he is expected to address the leaders of NATO countries via video link.