The US expects the announcement of more weapons for Ukraine at a meeting of nearly 50 nations in Brussels that will take place on Wednesday, a senior Pentagon official said on Tuesday.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin will host the meeting, convening a new forum dubbed the Ukraine Contact Group for the third time. At previous meetings, Western powers pledged to send heavy weapons to Ukraine.
On Monday, Ukrainian presidential aide Mykhailo Podolyak listed on Twitter Kyiv’s massive weapons wishlist that he hopes will be pledged at the meeting, which includes 1,000 howitzers, 300 MLRS, 500 tanks, 2,000 armored vehicles, and 1,000 drones.
“Contact Group of Defense Ministers meeting is held in Brussels on June 15. We are waiting for a decision,” Podolyak said. The Pentagon official wouldn’t detail what weapons the US expects to be pledged at Wednesday’s meeting.
Earlier this month, Reuters reported that the US was considering selling Ukraine four MQ-1C Gray Eagle drones that can be armed with hellfire missiles, which would mark a significant escalation in Washington’s support for Kyiv. Pentagon officials told Politico on Tuesday that the deal is not yet finalized, and if it’s pushed through, training Ukrainian forces on the drones could take months.
Ukrainian officials have been more candid about their battlefield losses in recent weeks as they plead for new weapons and are now saying they can’t win the battle for the Donbas unless the West provides more heavy arms. Every time the West escalates military assistance for Ukraine, it risks provoking Moscow, which has issued repeated warnings against giving Kyiv longer-range weapons.