NATO Chief Tells Members: Increase Lethal Arms Supplies to Ukraine Immediately

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - OCTOBER 11: NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg holds a press conference ahead of a NATO Defence ministers' meeting at the NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium on October 11, 2022. (Photo by Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency via Getty

NATO members must lift supplies of lethal arms to Ukraine immediately, including advanced air defense systems, artillery, ammunition, armored vehicles, and anti-tank weapons. That was the message from Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg ahead of the pact’s two-day ministerial meeting in Brussels that begins Wednesday.

Non-lethal supplies including food and winter clothing for Ukrainian soldiers alongside advanced battlefield communications systems also appear on the list of needs.

Stoltenberg, a former Prime Minister of Norway, delivered his instructions as Russia continued its barrage of attacks across Ukraine that began earlier this week.

The ministers are expected to “step up” their support for Ukraine during the meeting so its forces “can continue to defend themselves, and liberate territory from Russian occupation,” Stoltenberg said.

His push follows Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky deploring what he saw as NATO’s failure to embrace his country when he asked the alliance for yet more support back in May, as Breitbart News reported.

Zelensky said weapons, money, and political backing are needed right now as he claimed to stand alone in defense of western civilization in the face of Russian predation.

Now NATO is heeding that message.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg holds a press conference ahead of a two-day meeting of the alliance’s Defence Ministers at the NATO headquarters in Brussels on October 11, 2022. (KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP via Getty Images)

UPI reports Stoltenberg described attacks on civilian targets over the last two days as evidence that Russian President Vladimir Putin was “failing in Ukraine” and that NATO’s support of Kyiv is “playing a key role” in the battle.

“What we saw yesterday is actually a sign of weakness,” he said. “Russia is actually losing the battlefield.”

The Kremlin has responded to its relinquishing of territory to advancing Ukrainian forces with indiscriminate attacks on cities, civilians and critical infrastructure, which reflects the lack of options before Putin, he said.

“They are losing ground, they have lost the momentum and then they had to revert to missile strikes and airstrikes in a way we saw yesterday and actually also today,” he said.

Stoltenberg welcomed recent commitments from Germany and the United States to send Ukraine further advanced air defense systems, but the European nation requires more, he said.

“These air defense systems are making a difference because many of the incoming missiles [on Monday and Tuesday] were actually shot down by the Ukrainian air defense systems provided by NATO allies,” he said, adding more systems are needed since some missiles were not intercepted.

Stoltenberg also announced during the press conference that Ukraine’s defense minister, Oleksii Reznikov, will be joining the NATO members on Wednesday to discuss exactly what his forces need and how the defensive military alliance can ensure the delivery of systems as soon as possible, the UPI report sets out.

Wednesday’s meeting comes after NATO held its two-day summit in Madrid in June, during which the ministers agreed on a new Strategic Concept that represented a fundamental shift in its defense as it saw the number of NATO battlegroups in the east of the alliance doubled and an increase in the number of high-readiness forces.

“Our message is clear,” Stoltenberg told reporters Tuesday. “NATO stands with Ukraine. For as long as it takes.”

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