NATO allies and their partners have provided Ukraine with 230 combat tanks and 1,550 armored vehicles since the start of the Russian offensive, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced on Thursday. "Allies and US-led contact group partners have sent to Ukraine 230 tanks, 1,550 armored vehicles and significant amounts of ammunition, 98% of the pledged equipment, to equip nine new armored brigades" , he said during a press conference with the Prime Minister of Luxembourg, Xavier Bettel.
"All in all, the Ukrainians therefore have the capabilities they need to take back more territory," the Atlantic Alliance leader stressed. Since the start of the Russian offensive in February 2022, NATO members have also provided Soviet-made air defense systems, artillery and MIG-29 fighter jets held by Poland and the Czech Republic. . They have also trained tens of thousands of Ukrainian soldiers on the weapons used by NATO armies.
Jens Stoltenberg, however, called for "never underestimating" Russia. "Russian forces may lack in quality but they are making up for it in quantity and Moscow continues to mobilize more personnel," he recalled. "We will stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes and we will provide it with what it needs," the Norwegian official assured.
"Luxembourg has the smallest army in NATO, but if we are needed, we can be counted on," said Xavier Bettel. Luxembourg is last in the class within NATO for the share of its GDP devoted to defense spending, but the head of government has pledged to increase it. Stoltenberg and Bettel welcomed Wednesday's phone call between Chinese Presidents Xi Jinping and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
"It does not change the fact that China has not been able to condemn the illegal invasion of Ukraine by Russia," however, insisted the Secretary General of NATO. "It is up to Ukraine to decide what the terms of the talks are and what formats the talks should have," he added. "If we want a peaceful, negotiated solution that allows Ukraine to establish itself as a sovereign and independent nation, the best way to achieve that is to provide military support to Ukraine, just as NATO allies,” he concluded.