U.S. Defense Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin recently invited colleagues and military officers from dozens of countries to the U.S. Air Force base Ramstein in Germany. Today, they are scheduled to talk about more support for Ukraine and “various security questions”.
Berlin, September 8th, 2022 (The Berlin Spectator) — Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine is in its seventh month and no end is in sight. The war is a threat to other former Soviet republics as well, but also to the entire continent and the world. This is the third time the liaison group of defense ministers convenes. Its members have gathered in Ramstein before. Once, they met in Brussels.
Worries About Zaporizhzhia
Back in Germany, where almost 40,000 U.S. soldiers are stationed, Secretary Lloyd Austin, a former four-star general, is expecting to welcome his German colleague Christine Lambrecht, NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and many more colleagues. The delivery of more weapons to Ukraine is one of the subjects they will discuss.
Another one is the situation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, Europe’s largest facility of this kind. Russia has been controlling it for months. There is fear that the fighting in the area could trigger a nuclear catastrophe of the kind Ukraine has experienced in 1986 in Chernobyl. The International Atomic Energy Agency, which recently got access to the plant, is worried. Zaporizhzhia has six pressurized light water nuclear reactors.
Winter Equipment Needed
During a visit to Berlin, Ukraine’s Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal had recently asked for the delivery of German-made Leopard 2 tanks. So far, the Federal Republic has provided Ukraine with MARS-II missile launchers as well as armored howitzers. Germany’s conservative opposition party CDU and some MPs who are members of parties involved in Chancellor Olaf Scholz’ government coalition have criticized Germany for not exporting heavy weapons to Ukraine in spite of the fact that it actually did. Ukrainian soldiers were taught how to use those systems in Germany.
Ukraine also needs winter equipment for its troops. There has been a request by the country’s Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov which NATO is dealing with. Warm clothing, winter boots and tents are supposed to be sent there soon.
In spite of the liaison group meeting, residents around the Ramstein Air Base will not be slowed down by traffic jams. That is because air bases have runways. The participants will be flying in. In the early afternoon, Minister Christine Lambrecht was going to make a statement on the progress of the discussions.