The US and its allies are holding a series of meetings this week in Europe where new pledges for military aid to Ukraine are expected to be made, and more countries might agree to arm Kyiv with tanks.
NATO Defense Ministers are set to meet in Brussels on Wednesday and Thursday, followed by a meeting on Friday in Germany of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, which includes military officials from beyond NATO. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has been chairing the Ukraine Defense Contact Group since the early days of the war.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken previewed what is to come during a press conference with his British counterpart in Washington on Tuesday. “You’ll hear more announcements in the days to come,” he said. “We’re coordinating security assistance among many countries. So stay tuned for more on that.”
Blinken said that the role of the US is to “put Ukraine in the strongest possible position when a negotiating table emerges so that there can be a just and durable peace.”
As things stand, there’s no sign of a negotiating table emerging as Ukraine is demanding war crimes tribunals before talks can even begin, and Russia wants any deal to recognize its annexation of the territory it has captured. The only chance for peace talks is if the US pushed Kyiv to the negotiating table, but the Biden administration has shown no interest in backing down.
Recognizing that there’s no end to the fighting in sight, Blinken said he expects the war to “go on for some time.”
Speaking alongside Blinken, British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said the Western powers need to “intensify” military aid for Ukraine to prevent a stalemate. “We can’t allow this to drag on and become a kind of First World War attritional-type stalemate,” he said.
Cleverly’s trip came after the UK pledged to send 14 Challenger 2 tanks to Ukraine, and Ukraine is hoping other Western nations will follow London’s lead. Poland and Finland have said they’re willing to send their German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Kyiv, but the plan still needs to be signed off by Berlin. The issue of tanks is expected to be a major topic of discussion during this week’s meetings in Europe.