« Kiev’s new Defence Minister Rustem Umerov said he had received a ‘warm welcome’ from allies at the latest Ukraine Defence Contact Group meeting in Ramstein on Tuesday.
Umerov replaced Oleksii Reznikov, who was sacked earlier this month amid allegations of corruption at the ministry – although there was no suggestion the former minister was involved.
The meeting also came just a day after the Ukrainian government also fired all six deputies at his department, without providing a reason.
« It was my first Ramstein as a minister of defence, » Umerov began. « I had received a warm welcome from all the partners, grateful to [US Defence] Secretary [Lloyd] Austin. Also thankful to [Chair of the Joint Chiefs] General [Mark] Milley for all his support and assistance during those one and a half years, he has become the greatest friend of Ukraine. »
The talks included over 50 defence ministers from around the world, discussing military supplies and support for Kiev in its ongoing conflict with Moscow.
« We also held productive meetings and made some new announcements on support from our partners from different countries on tanks, missiles, ammunition, de-mining equipment, » Umerov continued. « We’ll be focusing on fire jets, training of personnel, F-16 jets, assistance in infrastructure building. »
He added that he had briefed colleagues on the situation on the battlefield, discussed plans for an ‘IT coalition’ to ‘deliver a secure and resilient IT infrastructure for defence forces’ as well as a ‘capabilities coalition’ to shore up Ukraine’s ‘air defence, artillery, aviation, navy and armoured vehicles.’
Moscow has repeatedly accused Western nations of escalating the ongoing conflict. It claims that ongoing supplies of weaponry to Kiev will only prolong the fighting and won’t change the outcome. »