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Coalition F-16 and Weapons for the Counteroffensive. What’s on the Agenda of the Rammstein 13 Meeting

Ukraine’s allies are gathering for the next Rammstein talks today, June 15. One of the main topics of the meeting is the “aircraft coalition” and the training of Ukrainian pilots. The Contact Group will also discuss the strengthening of military assistance for a successful counter-offensive of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

RBC-Ukraine has collected everything that is known about Rammstein-13, as well as what to expect from the meeting in Brussels.

Talks at NATO Headquarters

The 13th meeting in the Ramstein format was announced for June 15, 2023. This time, the members of the defense coalition will meet in person in Brussels, at NATO headquarters. On this day, the summit of defense ministers of the countries of the North Atlantic Alliance will also take place at the same site.

The Rammstein 13 meeting will start at 11:00 am Kyiv time with an opening speech by the US Secretary of Defense.

Invariably, negotiations will be led by Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin. Also present for the United States will be General Mark Milley.

At 17:15, a joint speech by Lloyd Austin and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg is expected. After that, at 18:00, the meeting of the Ukraine-NATO commission starts.

Key topics

The focus of the events in Brussels will be the issue of countering Russian aggression. The discussion will begin within the framework of the Ramstein Contact Group and will continue at the level of NATO defense ministers.

Allies will focus on how best to support Ukraine now and in the future, a Pentagon official said . The following topics are on the agenda:

  • air defense, anti-tank systems and ammunition, short-range and long-range artillery – the needs of the Armed Forces of Ukraine for offensive operations;
  • spare parts, instructions for maintenance and repair of military equipment in the field;
  • interoperability of weapons, modernization and capabilities of the military-industrial complexes of the partner countries;
  • “future opportunities” of the Ukrainian forces – the training of fighter pilots.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that the issue of training Ukrainian pilots on Western fighters will be considered on June 15 after the Ramstein meeting. Several member countries of the Alliance have already decided to train pilots .

Aircraft, air defense, artillery and equipment repair: what Ukraine expects from the meeting

The key task for Ukraine at Rammstein will be to work on a “coalition of aircraft.”

Defense Minister Aleksey Reznikov said that a substantive discussion of pilot training and logistics issues is planned with teams from the ministries of defense of the Netherlands, Denmark, the United States and other countries that have joined the coalition.

The Ukrainian delegation included representatives of the Air Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, which may indicate that negotiations on fighter jets have reached the final stage.

“During the meeting, we will discuss the details of the “aircraft coalition”. In this case, we are talking about the training of pilots and not only pilots, but also our technicians and engineers who will be involved in aircraft maintenance. Because this is a very complex system,” the minister explained.

It is known that Ukrainian officers will be present at Ramstein-13, who oversee the training of pilots and the logistics direction.

The strengthening of air defense, artillery, ammunition, ammunition supplies also remains a priority for the Ukrainian side .

The issue of creating hubs for the repair and equipping of equipment both in Ukraine and on the territory of the allied countries will be discussed .

“This war is a war of resources. Resources means not only weapons, but also the ability to repair, maintain and everything that is involved in this,” Reznikov said.

Fighter Coalition

An official decision on a “coalition of fighters” for Ukraine has not yet been made. However, during a visit to Moldova on June 1, President Volodymyr Zelensky raised the issue at a meeting with European leaders. In particular, they talked about the training of Ukrainian pilots on the F-16 and other types of aircraft.

The head of state called the talks successful and said that work on creating a coalition would continue during the next Ramstein. Zelensky said that the partners are ready to provide “strong support” in the number of fighters , but for this it is necessary to rebuild the Ukrainian infrastructure.

It should be noted that a number of European countries and Canada have expressed their desire to train Ukrainian pilots on the F-16. US President Joe Biden also confirmed his intention to join the initiative. This marked the beginning of an international coalition, because without Washington’s approval, other countries could not approve the transfer of American fighters to Ukraine.

To receive aircraft, pilots of the Armed Forces of Ukraine must first undergo training. Its duration will be about 4 months. Poland, Great Britain, the Netherlands are ready to train Ukrainians, and Denmark announced the possible start of pilot training in August 2023 .

In addition to the F-16, the Allies can transfer F-18 fighters to our Air Force . Ukraine has already requested this type of aircraft from Australia, which is switching to more modern F-35s.

Recall, the Ministry of Defense stated that in order to liberate the territories of Ukraine occupied by the Russian Federation, the Armed Forces of Ukraine need 4 squadrons of Western fighters – this is about 48 aircraft.

New Allied military assistance

Against the backdrop of news about the start of counter-offensive actions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Ukraine’s partners are stepping up military assistance.

So, on the eve of the Ramstein-13 meeting, it became known that the next, already 40th in a row, US aid package in the amount of $325 million to “strengthen Ukrainian forces on the battlefield” was provided.

It will include Stryker and Bradley armored vehicles, ammunition for NASAMS air defense systems, missiles for HIMARS artillery missile systems, etc.

In addition, information appeared in the media that the United States would supply Ukraine with depleted uranium shells for Abrams tanks (these tanks should arrive in the fall).

Denmark announced the transfer to Ukraine of about 2,000 artillery shells for 36 million dollars, and in Belgium  the supply of 105 mm ammunition for 32.4 million euros.

Germany plans to increase the supply of repaired Leopard 1 tanks for the needs of Ukraine. This became known after the news about the damage to the Leopard 2 tank on the battlefield. Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said that Germany could not replace every lost tank, but would increase supplies of repaired Leopard 1 A5s from July .

The UK has announced $115 million in air defense assistance. It will be purchased through an international fund. The package will include weapons, radars for air defense systems and a significant amount of ammunition.

Canada will provide weapons worth $327 million. These are additional AIM-7 Sparrow missiles and 10 thousand shells with a caliber of 155 mm.

The Netherlands during Ramstein will announce the allocation of 40 million euros for the purchase of air defense equipment for Ukraine as part of a multilateral partnership. Also, for the needs of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, 4 VERA-EG radar systems will be supplied in the amount of 150 million euros.

You can read more about how the West reacts to the successes of the Armed Forces of Ukraine on the battlefield and what kind of help the allies announce in the material RBC-Ukraine .

Recall that on the eve of Rammstein, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Valery Zaluzhny had a telephone conversation with US Army General Mark Milley. The military discussed strengthening air defenses, artillery, and counter-battery capabilities .

Source : РБК-Україна