Michael Knowles, home affairs and defence editor at The Daily Express, has claimed NATO will “send a message” to the munitions industry and Russia that they will “support Ukraine for the foreseeable future” as they look to replenish their military stockpiles. As more than 50 countries gather to witness the NATO meeting in Brussels on Wednesday following the mass bombing of Ukrainian cities on Monday, Mr Knowles suggested the UK were preparing an announcement to be made in the next couple of days regarding further supporting Ukraine and the alliance. NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg has said that the alliance is more committed now than ever to providing an “united and determined response” to the atrocities caused by Russia.
Mr Knowles said: “The NATO allies want to agree an increase in ammunition and stockpiles for the alliance as a whole.
“Obviously, lots of countries have sent a vast amount to Ukraine so I think over the next few days we’ll see them send a message to the industry that we are going to need plenty over the next few years and set in to support Ukraine for the foreseeable future.”
Asked where the UK was on NATO pledges, Mr Knowles added: “I am told that we are likely to announce something over the next couple of days, which is promising.
“We have not seen any announcements yet on air defence systems. That is where a lot of the attention is at the moment. We have got air defence systems in Poland so it will be interesting to see if there are any announcements on that.”
More than 50 countries will gather on the sidelines of a NATO meeting in Brussels on Wednesday to discuss bolstering Ukraine’s air defence, two days after Russian missiles rained down on cities across the country, including the capital Kyiv.
The gathering of defence ministers is the first major NATO meeting since Moscow annexed several Ukrainian territories, announced a mobilisation and issued veiled nuclear threats, moves that NATO has classified as a clear escalation of the war that started with the invasion of Ukraine on February 24.
On Tuesday, Ukraine received the first of four IRIS-T SLM air defence systems Germany promised to supply, a German defence ministry source said.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, speaking ahead of a two-day meeting of the alliance’s defence ministers on October 12-13 in Brussels, urged allies to provide additional air defence systems.
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He called Russia’s missile attacks a sign of weakness and a result of the fact that President Vladimir Putin was running out of alternatives.
“The reality is that they’re not able to make progress on the battlefield. Russia is actually losing on the battlefield,” Mr Stoltenberg said.
“Ukraine has the momentum and continues to make significant gains while Russia is increasingly resorting to horrific and indiscriminate attacks on civilians and critical infrastructure.”
After an explosion on the Crimean Bridge, Putin on Monday warned Ukraine that there would be a harsh response if there were any further “terrorist” attacks, which he referred to as targeting Russia’s “critical civilian infrastructure”.
Russian air raids on Monday killed 19 people in Ukraine, wounded more than 100 and knocked out power supplies across the country.
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