16th Ukraine Defense Contact Group meeting: main results
The 16th Ukraine Defense Contact Group session took place in Brussels, Belgium, on October 11, 2023. President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy was present in person for the first time at the Ramstein-format meeting.
The main outcomes of the meeting included new military aid packages for Ukraine from partner countries, updates regarding the F-16 coalition, as well as the call from Ukraine to establish the Defense Industry Development Coalition.
A number of allies announced new aid packages for Ukraine, which include ammunition for air defense systems to protect Ukrainian civilian infrastructure from potential Russian attacks during the autumn-winter period. Ukraine will also receive shells and military gear for combat operations during the cold season.
“We stand together today – determined to ensure that Ukraine has the support that it needs for another winter of war. Unity will remain the beating heart of this coalition (…) We stand together. Putin stands alone (…) I continue to firmly believe that our support for the forces of freedom in Ukraine will hold fast, in any season or any storm,” stated Lloyd Austin, the US Secretary of Defense.
Announced military aid for Ukraine from allies includes:
– $200 million from the US government. These are ammunition for air defense, artillery and missile ammunition, aviation weapons, and anti-tank weapons;
– €115 million from the UK government, which consists of an aid package, demining, and equipment maintenance;
– Additional air defense systems, help in preparation for winter, as well €1.5 million for demining from Spain;
– 2 NASAMS launchers, ammunition, and winter supplies from Lithuania.
In addition, Ukraine will receive a new €95 million aid package from Finland, $25 million for winter preparation from Canada, $18.5 million for demining from Norway, as well as missiles for air defense and tanks from Germany.
Ukraine also has some positive outcomes regarding the F-16 coalition: Denmark will transfer the first F-16s to Ukraine in early 2024, as Danish Defense Minister Troels Lun reported. In its turn, the Belgian side will organize the F-16 pilot training for Ukrainians and will deliver a few F-16 aircraft in 2025, along with substantial technical support, according to the Minister of Defence of Belgium, Ludivine Dedonder.
“We have worked with our partners to review the winter period to plan the necessary supplies for these three months… There are positive commitments from our partners that we did not expect. Everything that our Armed Forces are currently working with, we receive on time,” said Rustem Umerov, the Minister of Defence of Ukraine, following the meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels.
Furthermore, during the Ramstein-16 meeting, Ukraine came up with the initiative to create the Defense Industry Development Coalition.
“Our priority for this year and the next is to engage international defense companies and corporations to open production facilities in Ukraine. This is a matter of our national security – ensuring the provision of weapons for the Ukrainian Armed Forces, technological development, and economic security,” emphasized the Minister of Defence of Ukraine, Rustem Umerov.
As of October 2023, several coalitions have already been established, including the Tank Coalition, CV-90 Coalition, IT Coalition, Demining Coalition, F-16 Coalition, and Future Force Coalition (the strategy for the future of the Ukrainian army).