Ukraine seeks warplanes at NATO talks, allies worried about ammunition – KGET 17

BRUSSELS (AP) — Ukraine continued to appeal to Western countries on Tuesday to supply it with fighter jets, but the United States and its allies and NATO partners expressed greater concern about Kiev’s need for large amounts of ammunition as the war with Russia neared its one-year anniversary. .

Ahead of the meeting of the Ukrainian contact group at NATO headquarters, Ukraine made its demands clear. Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov, when asked what kind of military assistance his country is now seeking, showed journalists a picture of a fighter plane.

Asked where he hoped they might come from, Reznikov said only, “From the sky.”

What NATO allies have in mind, however, is how to maintain a steady supply of ammunition to Ukraine without depleting their own stockpiles.

According to some estimates, Ukraine fires up to 6,000-7,000 artillery shells each day, about a third of the daily amount used by Russia.

Moscow’s forces are applying pressure in eastern Ukraine as they strengthen their defense lines in the south. The war has been mostly static during the winter months, although both sides are expected to launch offensives when the weather improves.

German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said finding munitions and anti-aircraft defenses “is much more important at the moment than discussing fighter jets”.

Pistorius told reporters that familiarizing pilots with the new planes and “training just to fly them takes several months, not to mention teaching the skills needed to deploy the weapons systems.”

He said Ukraine’s partners “should focus on what’s in the spotlight now, especially given the Russian offensive that’s clearly underway.”

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg called on Ukraine’s Western allies on Monday to step up their military support.

Asked when he expects Russia’s so-called spring offensive to begin, Stoltenberg said that “the reality is that we have already seen the beginning.”

“For me, this just highlights the importance of timing. It is urgent to deliver more weapons to Ukraine,” he told reporters in Brussels. Stoltenberg said NATO sees “no sign that President Putin is preparing for peace” and that arming Ukraine more quickly could save lives by ending the conflict more quickly.


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