NATO arsenals ‘empty’ – Stoltenberg
NATO needs a “more robust” industry in order to refill the stocks of weaponry and ammunition emptied by a year of supplying Kiev, the bloc’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Monday, at an industrial conference in Germany.
The US-led military bloc “must continue to support Ukraine” as it has done since 2014, Stoltenberg insisted at the Day of Industry in Berlin, hosted by the Federation of German Industries (BDI).
“We also need a more robust defense industry,” the secretary general argued. “Our weapons and ammunition stocks are depleted and need to be replenished. Not just in Germany, but in many countries across NATO.”
He added that he met with representatives of the military industry last week and discussed how best to ramp up production and streamline supply chains, adding that this was “key to sustain our support for Ukraine.”
Stoltenberg also repeated his argument that only a Ukrainian victory on the battlefield can result in a just and lasting peace. Kiev’s forces had attempted a large-scale offensive on the southern front over the past week, with heavy losses in manpower, as well as in weaponry provided by the West.
The US and its allies have sent over $100 billion worth of weapons, equipment and ammunition to Kiev in the last year, after the conflict escalated. They insist this does not actually make them a party to the hostilities with Russia.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has accused the West of direct involvement, not just with the weapons deliveries but also by training Ukrainian troops in the UK, Germany, Italy and elsewhere.
Kiev has complained that a lot of the weapons coming in are in such poor condition they have to be cannibalized for parts. At least a third of Ukraine’s military potential is undergoing repairs at any given time, according to the New York Times.