NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg says that it is necessary for NATO member states to boost their arms production after having significantly depleted their weapons stockpiles by supplying arms to Ukraine.
Speaking in a CNN interview on Thursday, the NATO Secretary General praised the military bloc’s “unprecedented unity in the support to Ukraine,” but pointed out that NATO’s continued assistance to the beleaguered Eastern European nation following the Russian invasion has come at a significant cost to NATO member states.
He stated that the defense aid for Ukraine has until now been “taken from our existing stocks, so they are now running low.”
Stoltenberg warned that the alliance needs to prioritize replenishing the depleted stocks.
“Therefore, one of the main focuses in NATO is to work with the defense industry to ramp up production,” Stoltenberg said, noting that additional ammunition and weapons production would help maintain the current level of support to Ukraine, and insure that NATO members have “deterrence and defense” available at their disposal.
Stoltenberg told CNN that the issue is high on the agenda of NATO’s upcoming meeting of defence ministers in October.
Since the onset of the invasion, most NATO member states have been providing the Zelensky government in Kiev with weapons and ammo, with the most generous contributions coming from the United States, the United Kingdom, and Poland.
Earlier in September, German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht said that Germany had already “handed over an unbelievable amount from the reserves of the Bundeswehr” to the Ukrainian government, and said that the country has now “reached the limit” in terms of what it is able to provide to Zelensky.
Germany continues to face criticism from the Ukrainian government for failing to provide the country with what it demands, including modern heavy weapons like the Leopard 2 A7V heavy battle tank and the Marder IFV, CNBC reported on Friday.
“Disappointing signals from Germany while Ukraine needs Leopards and Marders now — to liberate people and save them from genocide,” said Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on Twitter. He said there was “not a single rational argument on why these weapons can not be supplied, only abstract fears and excuses. What is Berlin afraid of that Kyiv is not?”