(From left) Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell join hands after addressing a media conference at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Feb 21, 2023. (PHOTO / AP)
BRUSSELS – Ukraine, the European Union (EU) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) will jointly launch a mechanism to coordinate arms supplies to Ukraine, officials said here after the first meeting of the three sides' high-level representatives.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said he discussed with Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell the need to ramp up weapons production and improve arms procurement "to ensure that Ukraine gets the weapons it needs."
"We are looking for ways to accelerate the deliveries from member states to Ukraine," Borrell said.
Since the consumption rate of ammunition is greater than the production rate, the EU and NATO member states need to ramp up production, Stoltenberg and Borrell said
To this end, the three sides will set up a coordination mechanism that will link their defense industries, procurers and governments. This will allow them to not only meet Ukraine's needs on the frontline but also to replenish the NATO and EU member states' ammunition stockpiles.
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Since the consumption rate of ammunition is greater than the production rate, the EU and NATO member states need to ramp up production, Stoltenberg and Borrell said. Efforts to ramp up production started at the end of last summer, according to Kuleba.
NATO will help Ukraine develop a procurement system that is effective, transparent and accountable, Stoltenberg said. The alliance will also increase its targets for ammunition stockpiles through its Defense Planning Process.
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Stoltenberg said he regretted Russia's decision to suspend its participation in the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) with the United States, which was announced earlier on Tuesday by Russia's President Vladimir Putin.
Russia suspends participation in New START rather than withdraws from it, Putin said.
In early February, NATO called on Russia to "return to full compliance" with New START and allow inspections of its nuclear facilities. That "sounds like some kind of nonsense amid today's confrontation," Putin said in his annual address to Russia's Federal Assembly.
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He pointed to the combined strike potential of NATO as the United Kingdom and France also have nuclear arsenals that pose a threat to Russia.
Moscow said it had information that "certain figures in Washington" are considering conducting tests to develop new types of nuclear weapons.