NATO countries must speed up military production to be able to keep supporting Ukraine and maintain stockpiles, the alliance chief said on Monday.
Addressing a news conference ahead of a meeting of NATO defense ministers on Tuesday, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the session would “focus on ways to increase our defense industrial capacity and replenish stock points” because the “war in Ukraine is consuming an enormous amount of ammunition and depleting allied stockpiles.”
Stoltenberg stressed that NATO countries must “ramp up” the manufacturing since “the current rate of Ukraine’s ammunition expenditure is many times higher than our current rate of production.”
He reaffirmed that “NATO stands with Ukraine for as long as it takes,” but warned that “we are in a race of logistics.”
He said the defense ministers would also discuss the possibility of delivering fighter jets to Ukraine, but explained that it is not considered as the military alliance’s involvement in the war.
Stoltenberg asserted that his “top priority” is to ensure that allies pledge support for Ukraine and speed up the delivery of infantry fighting vehicles, armor and battle tanks “because every day counts.”
According to the NATO chief, “(Russian) President (Vladimir) Putin is not preparing for peace, he is launching new offensives.”
Russia is currently sending “thousands and thousands of more troops, accepting a very high rate of casualty, taking big losses” to put pressure on Ukraine and to compensate what they “lack in quantity,” he highlighted.
NATO ministers are also expected to agree on establishing a new virtual network of satellites, which will improve NATO’s intelligence and surveillance capabilities and facilitate “better navigation communication and early warning of missile launches,” Stoltenberg said.
The ministers will also discuss support for Bosnia-Herzegovina, Georgia and Moldova as well as long-term plans for strengthening NATO’s defense and the need to increase military spending.