17th meeting in the Ramstein format: Ground-Based Air Defence coalition for Ukraine was set up
On November 22, 2023, the 17th meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group was held virtually. The Ministers of Defense from 50 countries participated, including the Ukrainian Minister of Defence, Rustem Umerov.
The meeting resulted in the establishment of the Ground-Based Air Defence coalition, new military assistance packages for Ukraine, and further cooperation within Maritime and IT coalitions.
A number of partner states announced new military aid packages for Ukraine prior to the meeting. Among them are Lithuania, Bulgaria, Finland, Germany and the USA. In particular, the new assistance package from Germany includes 20 Marder infantry fighting vehicles and 2,380 rounds of 155mm ammunition. The USA donated to Ukraine one more HIMARS (High Mobility Artillery Rocket System) with additional ammunition, Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, along with other military equipment.
“We will continue to stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes. We’re focused on supporting Ukraine as it continues to fight through this winter and defend its critical infrastructure (…) As President Biden has said, when tyrants don’t pay a price for their aggression, they continue to menace the world. And none of us want to live in a world where bullies like Putin can invade their peaceful neighbor with impunity,” stated US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin during the 17th Ukraine Defense Contact Group meeting.
In total, the members of the Contact Group have already committed more than $80 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
Rustem Umerov, Minister of Defence of Ukraine, highlighted five key takeaways of the 17th meeting in the Ramstein format. First of all, a new Ground-Based Air Defence coalition for Ukraine has been formed. The coalition included 20 countries, with Germany and France taking leadership. It will focus on providing Ukrainian cities with additional air defense in the upcoming winter.
Furthermore, the Netherlands has prepared €2 billion for military aid to Ukraine. At the same time, the UK and Norway, within the framework of the Maritime Coalition, will look for ways to further strengthen security in the Black Sea. The leader of the IT coalition, Estonia, provides $500,000 for the coalition’s activities, in addition to Luxembourg’s commitment of €10 million.
Moreover, the work on the Interoperability Roadmap will continue. It is one of the top priorities that “the Ukrainian army must meet all NATO criteria and achieve full interoperability with partners”.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy also commented on a recent meeting in the Ramstein format in his evening video address and thanked Ukrainian allies for their support. “I am also grateful to every country that participates in these efforts, which enable our cities and villages to be more protected from Russian attacks. Not everything can be said publicly yet, but Ukraine’s sky shield is getting more powerful literally every month”.