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US promises to move ‘heaven and earth’ to strengthen Ukraine’ Capital News

Ramstein Air Base, April 26 – The United States vowed on Tuesday to move “heaven and earth” to help Ukraine win its battle against Russia’s unprovoked invasion, as allies from 40 nations came together to strengthen kyiv’s defense against Moscow.

The meeting convened by the United States at its Ramstein Air Base in southwestern Germany aims to “help Ukraine win the fight against Russia’s unjust invasion and strengthen the defenses of Ukraine for the challenges of tomorrow,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said as he opened the talks.

“Ukraine clearly believes they can win, just like everyone here,” he added.

The United States is already the largest provider of international military aid to Ukraine, and Austin said Washington “will continue to move heaven and earth so that we can meet” kyiv’s needs.

During the talks, German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht said Berlin had agreed to give the go-ahead for the delivery of used Gepard anti-aircraft tanks to Ukraine.

The move towards heavy weapons deliveries marked a turn from Germany’s timid support for Kyiv, which has brought Chancellor Olaf Scholz under fire at home and abroad.

Lambrecht admitted that the Bundeswehr’s arms stocks are limited, but said he would turn to the inventory of German arms manufacturers.

“Ukraine commands and Germany pays,” she said.

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kyiv has requested heavy artillery and tanks to repel Russian forces trying to take full control of its vast southern plains and eastern Donbas region.

But the Russian-made equipment that Ukrainians have learned to use is now scarce.

Some Eastern European countries that still had stocks sent them to kyiv, sometimes in exchange for new generation American equipment.

– Layers and howitzers –

The meeting is not held under NATO auspices, but members of the alliance, including Washington’s European allies, are present © AFP/File/ANDRE PAIN

Austin had held a press conference on Monday at a Polish warehouse filled with tons of humanitarian and military aid ready to be packed into trucks bound for Ukraine.

Alongside the pallets of medical equipment and nappies were hundreds of Russian-made shells and rockets supplied by countries that prefer to remain discreet about their involvement in arming Ukraine.

Outside the warehouse, seven vehicles towing howitzers with a range of 30 kilometers (18 miles) were waiting to be transferred. They were parked in front of hundreds of pallets of neatly wrapped shells and miscellaneous ammunition.

But all this is insufficient, and Washington, which had at first limited its deliveries to so-called “defensive” weapons, has started to send heavy American-made weapons, such as howitzers and various armored vehicles.

The United States is “committing our colleagues from other nations to the same kind of capability, and we’re seeing early indications that…many nations are going to come forward and provide additional ammunition and howitzers,” Austin said.

France is delivering Caesar guns with a range of 40 kilometers and Britain has supplied Starstreak anti-aircraft missiles and tanks.

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The meeting also aims to ensure Ukraine’s longer-term security once the war is over.

“Ukraine needs our help to win today and will still need our help when the war is over,” Austin noted.

Tuesday’s meeting is not held under NATO auspices, but members of the alliance, including Washington’s European allies, are present.

Also present are more distant countries such as Japan or Australia, which fear that a Russian victory in Ukraine will set a precedent and stimulate China’s territorial ambitions.

Finland and Sweden, traditionally neutral countries now considering joining NATO after the Russian aggression in Ukraine, are also participating.