NATO faces ‘last chance’ to ship military aid to Ukraine

Ukraine and NATO allies facing ‘major issue’ with ammo

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NATO officials face a crunch meeting at the Ramstein Air Base in Germany on Thursday and Friday with a deadline looming to get weaponry onto the Ukraine battlefield before a new Russian offensive. Professor Michael Clarke believes the summit will mark the “last chance” for western militaries to arm Ukrainian forces before a renewed Russian assault.

Professor Clarke told Sky News: “The meeting in Ramstein this week on Friday will decide whether to send let’s say more than 100 tanks to Ukraine, not just the British fourteen.

“It takes 20 weeks to train a tank crew, if that’s compressed to ten or twelve weeks in an emergency I think it will take ten or twelve weeks to get the tanks there.

“So in 12 weeks’ time when the Russians are beginning their offensive there are significant tank forces there from the west then everyone will say the Ramstein meeting was just in time.

“But if they are not taken on Friday they will be just too late.

He added: “We are at the last possible time when a sensible decision can be made to train the crew, and get the tanks there for the Spring when they will be needed.”

NATO deputy secretary general Mircea Geoana has said the bloc’s nations must invest more in defense, ramp up military industrial manufacturing and harness new technologies to prepare for future wars.

As Russia’s war on Ukraine nears the one-year mark, NATO chiefs are expected to discuss how allies can expand the delivery of weapons, training and support to Ukraine in the coming months, and how they can further shore up their own defenses.

Mr Geoana said: “We have no indication that Putin’s goals have changed,

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“So we must be prepared for the long haul. 2023 will be a difficult year and we need to support Ukraine for as long as it takes.”

Separately on Wednesday, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Ukraine’s Western backers will gather this week to discuss ways to supply heavier and more advanced weapons to help the war-ravaged country in its fight against Russia.

It consists of about 50 top defence officials, including US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin, who work to coordinate military contributions to Ukraine.

Stoltenberg said Wednesday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland: “The main message there will be: more support, more advanced support, heavier weapons and more modern weapons.

“This is a fight for our values, this is a fight for democracy, and we just have to prove that democracy wins over tyranny and oppression.”

He warned: “It is very dangerous to underestimate Russia,

“Weapons, they are the way to peace.”

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