NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks of contacts with representatives of the defense industry in order to increase the production of weapons and ammunition to further support Ukraine in the war with Russia and to replenish its own stocks, which are depleted due to the sending of aid to Kyiv.
He announced this at a press conference at NATO headquarters in Brussels on Friday after a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, answering a question from journalists.
Stoltenberg recalled that the allies have provided “unprecedented support to Ukraine, with weapons, with ammunition and other capabilities. And of course, they have done that mostly by reducing existing stocks.” “Some Allies are now raising the issue of whether these stocks are depleted too much. My answer to that is actually twofold. One is to realise that the weapons, the munitions that we are providing to Ukraine are used to stop the aggressive actions of Russia against an independent sovereign nation in Europe, which is a close partner of NATO. And if President Putin wins in Ukraine, it’s not only bad for Ukrainians, but it is also dangerous for all of us. So actually, by ensuring that Russia, that President Putin, does not win in Ukraine, we are also increasing our own security and strengthening the Alliance by proving that we don’t allow that kind of behaviour close to our own borders. So the use of these stocks actually helps to increase our own security and reduce the risk of any aggressive actions by Russia against the NATO Allied countries,” the NATO Secretary General said.
According to him, more than 80% of Russian ground troops are now involved in the war in Ukraine. “What happens there matters for the total capacity of Russia to pose any threat to any NATO Allied countries. So my first thing, my first message, to Allies is that we welcome the unprecedented support, we are calling for even more support, and we urge them to dig deeper into the inventories, to the stocks, to continue to provide the supplies that Ukraine needs immediately,” Stoltenberg said.
The Secretary General believes this assistance “is making a huge difference on the ground. Because as Secretary Blinken, Tony, just referred to, we see progress on the ground in Ukraine. But make no mistakes, we have to be prepared for the long haul. The second answer to the concern about the level of stocks is of course to produce more. And therefore we are now in close contact with the defence industry, with capitals. We have established structures here at NATO on defence planning, on capabilities, to ensure that we are now ramping up production, that we are replenishing the stocks, both to be able to continue to provide support to Ukraine, but this is not only about supporting Ukraine – it is also about ensuring that we have the weapons, the ammunitions, the capabilities in place for our own deterrence and defence,” he said.