NATO should give Ukraine ‘everything we have’ – member state
NATO countries should arm Ukraine with all available weapons, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis told Ukrainian media on Saturday. However, he expects the alliance’s other members to foot the bill.
“Ukraine needs ‘everything we have,’” Landsbergis told Ukrinform, arguing that the Ukrainian military is already capable of working with the alliance’s arsenal now that its troops are receiving training in multiple European countries.
While the US has supplied Ukraine with increasingly powerful weaponry, some of its NATO allies have balked at handing over certain arms systems. Germany, for example, refuses to send its most modern Leopard II main battle tanks for fear of causing further escalation. Even in Washington, Pentagon officials have argued that Ukrainian troops would need substantial training to operate Western tanks.
Landsbergis insisted that “these arguments no longer work,” after a series of successful offenses by Kiev’s forces, which are increasingly armed with NATO weapons.
“If this is so, I see no reason why Ukraine should not be given everything we have?” the minister said. “I have already said this many times and now I will say it again.”
Landsbergis has emerged as one of the most vocally anti-Russian ministers in the EU in the months since Moscow sent its forces into Ukraine. He has threatened Lithuanian entertainers with reprisals for performing in Russia, supported an EU-wide ban on all visas for Russians, and called on NATO to pursue the military defeat of Russia rather than seek a negotiated settlement to the Ukraine conflict.
However, his own military has little to give Ukraine. Landsbergis told Ukrinform that he would only provide “political arguments” for arming Kiev’s forces, as Lithuania does not have its own “significant stockpile of weapons.”
While Ukraine has repeatedly called for more and heavier weapons from the West, EU stockpiles are running low, with Germany’s stocks already exhausted as of early September. Although US President Joe Biden has vowed to keep the arms pipeline open for “as long as it takes,” the US is reportedly cautious about delivering more advanced weapons systems.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said last week that Russia is now facing “the entire Western military machine” in Ukraine. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has also warned that “the US, in fact, is teetering on the brink of turning into a party to the conflict” due to its lavish assistance to Kiev.