NATO urged to boost ammunition production as war in Ukraine enters critical stageComments
As Russia increases its attacks in Ukraine’s south and east, Ukrainian soldiers defending the frontline say they urgently need more ammunition and planes to win the war.
While at times Russia has reportedly been firing a staggering 20,000 artillery shells a day, according to some estimates, Ukraine is firing between 6,000 and 7,000.
Ukraine renewed its appeal on Tuesday to Western countries for fighter jets, as NATO defence ministers take part in a two-day Ramstein-format meeting in Brussels, but no decision has been made.
Ukraine Defence Minister Oleksiy Reznikov was in Brussels to press NATO members on the issue, holding up an image of a warplane when asked what military aid his country is seeking.
However, Ukraine’s allies pledged more weapons, ammunition and tanks as the war with Russia reaches a critical stage, with both sides expected to launch an offensive in the spring when the weather improves.
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy underlined the importance of rapid decision-making in his nightly address on Tuesday: "We can see now that the Kremlin is trying to squeeze all possible aggression potential out of Russia. They are in a hurry. Because they know that the world is still stronger, but it takes time to accumulate its strength."
"Therefore, speed is very important. Speed in everything. In decision-making. In the implementation of decisions. In delivery. In training. Speed saves lives, speed brings back safety," he added.
In Brussels, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that allies in the bloc are providing "unprecedented support" to Ukraine to "help uphold its right to self-defence".
He added: "From the start, we have been working very closely with the European Union, on the terms to support Ukraine for as long as it takes."
Russia is increasing pressure near Bakhmut in the Donetsk Oblast province, the capture of which would give Russia a significant symbolic boost ahead of the first anniversary of the war on 24 February.
According to local media, Ukrainian forces have blown up a bridge near Bakhmut, which may indicate they are planning to retreat from the area, but Kyiv denies that it intends to leave the city.
Zelenskyy said on Tuesday that "it is literally a battle for every metre of Ukrainian land."