BERLIN, January 20. /TASS/. The Netherlands is donating US-made Patriot air defense missiles and systems to Kiev and is set to train Ukrainian servicemen on using them, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said on Friday, following a meeting of Western defense ministers at the US Ramstein Air Base in Germany.
"Several countries have come forward with key donations that will help protect Ukraine’s skies and cities and citizens. France, Germany and the UK, have all donated air defense systems to Ukraine. And that includes a Patriot battery from Germany. <...> And the Netherlands is also donating Patriot missiles and launchers and training. Meanwhile, Canada has procured a NASAM system and associated munitions for Ukraine," he said at a news conference.
Austin also said the West is providing Ukraine with weapons that it needs to succeed on the battlefield right now.
"What we are really focused on is making sure that Ukraine has a capability that it needs to be successful right now. So we have a window of opportunity between now and the spring <...> That’s not a long time and we have to pull together the right capabilities," he said.
According to Austin, the West won’t slow down in providing security assistance to Kiev.
"As President [of the US Joe] Biden has said, this is a decisive decade for the world and this is a decisive moment for Ukraine’s struggle to defend itself. So this contact group will not slow down," the Pentagon chief said.
The meeting of the contact group on Friday focused on Kiev’s needs for air defense systems and armored vehicles, according to the US secretary of defense said.
"Today’s meeting focused on Ukraine’s needs for air defense and armor. We also pushed hard on how to synchronize those donations and turn them into fully operational capabilities," he said.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley, said at the same news conference that the latest security assistance is aimed at helping Ukraine to attempt a counteroffensive on Russian forces.
He also said it will be extremely hard for Ukrainians to remove Russian forces from all Moscow-controlled areas that Kiev regards as its own. Milley went on to say that the conflict will be settled at a negotiating table but it’s up to Moscow and Kiev when to start the talks.