Nato has delivered 98% of its pledged military aid to Ukraine, Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on April 27.
“Overall, through the contact group led by the United States, Nato allies and partners have provided unprecedented support to Ukraine. More than 98% of combat vehicles promised to Ukraine have already been delivered. That means over 1,550 armoured vehicles, 230 tanks and other equipment, including vast amounts of ammunition,” Stoltenberg announced.
Nato has trained and equipped nine new Ukrainian armoured brigades, which Stoltenberg said will put Ukraine in a “good position” to liberate territories in the planned spring counteroffensive. It is estimated that 30,000 troops make up the new brigades.
Although experts have expressed doubt over the potential effectiveness of the counteroffensive, the announcement reveals far more support has been delivered to Ukraine than previously thought. Allies initially struggled to accumulate the number of tanks promised and Kyiv called for more ammunition due to depleted stocks, leading to speculations that Ukraine was underprepared for the counteroffensive.
Now tanks are arriving in Poland and Ukraine, with 71 of the German-manufactured Leopard 2 main battle tanks ready for the offensive, reported Forbes. In addition, Ukraine has received Challenger 2 tanks from the UK and Leopard 1s, an older model of the Leopard 2.
Meanwhile, 31 M1 Abrams are expected to arrive in Germany from the US in the next few weeks, when Ukrainian crews will be trained over a 10-week period, according to US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin.
The Pentagon confirmed last week that the first portion of Bradley infantry fighting vehicles are now in Ukraine, although it did not clarify when they arrived or how many. Washington initially pledged 50 Bradleys at the start of the year as part of a $3bn military package.
Nevertheless, despite the bolstering support, Stoltenberg warned that “we should never underestimate Russia”. Moscow is mobilising more troops and is “willing to send in thousands of troops with very high casualty rates”.
A “multi-year programme of support” for Ukraine will be discussed at the Nato summit in Vilnius in July. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy will attend the summit.
The secretary-general visited Kyiv last week, where he confirmed Ukraine’s future in Nato, although failed to give a timeframe on when the war-torn country will join the Alliance.
Nato’s announcement comes a day after President Zelenskiy spoke with Chinese President Xi Jinping. The Chinese leader said Beijing wants to “facilitate the peace process and a ceasefire as soon as possible.”
Although Zelenskiy described the call as “long and meaningful”, there has been no immediate development towards peace negotiations and Kyiv is still preparing for its brutal spring offensive.