The US, Britain, and other NATO allies agreed to provide Ukraine with “new and heavier” weapons during a meeting between the alliance’s foreign ministers on Thursday.
“There was support for countries to supply new and heavier equipment to Ukraine, so that they can respond to these new threats from Russia,” British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss told reporters.
The pledge came after Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba appealed to NATO for more military aid. “My agenda is very simple. It only has three items on it. It’s weapons, weapons, and weapons,” Kuleba said when he arrived at NATO headquarters in Brussels.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the US was looking at “new systems” to send into Ukraine without elaborating. “We are looking across the board right now, not only at what we have provided … and whether there are additional systems that would make a difference,” he said.
So far, the US and its allies have given Ukraine shoulder-fired anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles, and armed drones. The Czech Republic has provided Ukraine with just over a dozen Soviet-era tanks. Ukraine is asking for more tanks and wants fighter jets, and land-based anti-aircraft missile systems.
When it comes to heavier equipment, Ukraine’s forces are only trained to use older Soviet-designed systems, but Truss said NATO wants to change that, signaling the alliance is planning for the long-term. “We agreed to help Ukrainian forces move from their Soviet-era equipment to NATO standard equipment, on a bilateral basis,” she said.
Kuleba said that he is “cautiously optimistic” that NATO will meet Ukraine’s demands. “I was very specific about the requests and the timeline that they should be accommodated. I will be looking forward to the follow-up from allies,” he said.
While the US and NATO are pouring weapons into Ukraine, they have shown little interest in seeking a diplomatic solution to end the war. Since the invasion started on February 24, the Biden administration has pledged $1.7 billion in new military aid for Kyiv.