The foreign ministers of NATO countries met in Berlin on Saturday to discuss the war in Ukraine. The two-day gathering also featured the foreign ministers of Sweden and Finland, which are set to join the military alliance. Germany also hosted top diplomats from the Group of Seven wealthy nations to discuss Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and other issues.
Representatives from Ukraine and Moldova — which fears it will be invaded by Russia next — were also there.
Initially, the 30 NATO countries refused to send heavy defensive weapons to Ukraine, and smaller, less threatening offensive items like ammunition and other military aid.
But the bloc has now agreed to send heavy military hardware such as tanks, helicopters, and other weaponry — a clear break with the previously defensive approach.
The US, NATO’s largest defense spender, has delivered some of the most devastating weapons for Ukraine to use against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s army.
Last month, Washington announced that it would send an additional $800million (£647million) worth of military hardware to Ukraine.
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This includes 11 MI-17 helicopters, 200 M113 armored personnel carriers, 100 Humvees, 300 Switchblade “kamikaze” drones, heavy howitzers and thousands of shells.
The UK, NATO’s second largest defense spender, has also provided more than 4,200 anti-tank weapons known as NLAWs (next generation light anti-tank weapons) to Ukraine.
These relatively light weapons systems have played a critical role in helping Ukrainian soldiers destroy Russia’s tanks.
Professor Sir Lawrence Freedman, emeritus professor of war studies, King’s College London, praised the UK’s response to Russia’s war.
He said: “We can criticize British foreign policy at times, but [this time] we actually led.
Before the invasion, parts of Russia’s military might far outnumbered that of the US and other NATO countries.
Its tanks alone totaled more than 12,000 compared to the 6,000 in the US, according to Globalfirepower.com.
However, its main T-72 tank – the same model sent by Poland to Ukraine – is not as modern as its US Abrams counterpart.
During the war, as NATO has increasingly bolstered Ukraine with heavy weaponry, there have also been warnings that Russia is now running short of military supplies.
Earlier this week, UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace claimed that Russia increasingly lacks precision weapons.
He told a press conference: “I [Vladimir Putin] is running out of his precision stock fairly quickly.
“You know, that’s the lesson for us all. I mean, we mustn’t forget that they are showing us lessons, sadly at the expense of what’s happening in Ukraine.
“We all have highly complex weapons that, funny enough, don’t take a couple of days to replace, it can take months.”