In what is seen as a potential step that could lead to escalation of Ukraine-Russia conflict, eleven NATO countries pledged their commitment to supply military equipment in a joint declaration—Tallinn Pledge– on January 19 in Tallin, Estonia.
The “Tallinn Pledge” is part of the joint efforts by NATO Countries to break away from any restrictions—legally binding—which stop them from supplying heavy military equipment to Ukraine.
The group of defence ministers and representatives from NATO Countries will be holding talks in Ramstein in Germany. The crucial meeting will aim to unite other allies and partners to follow suit and contribute their own.
Ukraine pleaded with the West to finally send its heavy tanks as the defence chiefs of the United States and Germany headed for a showdown over weapons.
On Friday, defence leaders from 50 countries will be discussing the way forward to support Ukrainian armed forces at Ramstein Air Base in Germany. U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will also set to meet Germany’s new defence minister today in Berlin.
Heavy tanks, which Ukraine says it needs to fend off a new Russian onslaught and launch counter-offensives to recapture its occupied territory will top the agenda.
The meeting at Ramstein Air Base in Germany is the latest in a series of Russia-Ukraine war which started 11 months ago, and where future weapons supplies will be discussed, particularly Germany’s Leopard 2 tanks used by armies across Europe.
Berlin has veto power over any decision to export the tanks and Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s government has appeared reluctant so far to authorise that.
The new military package for Ukraine
Defence Ministers of eleven countries including Estonia, the United Kingdom, Poland, Latvia, and Lithuania finally agreed to Ukraine’s plea to supply military equipment such as tanks.
With the defence minister, the representatives of Denmark, the Czech Republic, Germany, the Netherlands, Slovakia, and Spain also met to reaffirm their continued support.
“Together we will continue supporting Ukraine to move from resisting to expelling Russian forces from Ukrainian soil. By bringing together Allies and partners, we are ensuring the surge of global military support is as strategic and coordinated as possible,” The Declaration reaffirms.
The declaration further clarifies that NATO countries will not hold back when it comes to heavy artillery equipment and air defence missile. “The new level of required combat power is only achieved by combinations of main battle tank squadrons, beneath air and missile defence, operating alongside divisional artillery groups, and further deep precision fires enabling targeting of Russian logistics and command nodes in occupied territory,” said NATO countries in the declaration.
“Therefore, we commit to collectively pursuing the delivery of an unprecedented set of donations including main battle tanks, heavy artillery, air defence, ammunition, and infantry fighting vehicles to Ukraine’s defence,” NATO leaders said.
NATO’s military equipment for Ukraine
The U.S. has pledged nearly $2 billion in new military aid to Ukraine. According to the Pentagon reports, the package includes a sophisticated air defence Patriot missile battery. However, the systems are mostly defensive in nature to protect the Ukrainian strategic locations against Russian cruise missiles.
Denmark is continuing military and civil support to Ukraine. Denmark is providing training for Ukrainian forces, including but not limited to the UK-led Operation INTERFLEX. Denmark has financed military aid close to 600 million Euros.
A key NATO member, the Czech Republic has agreed to increase its production capacities in order to provide even more support, especially in terms of producing Large-calibre ammunition, howitzers, and APCs.
The Czech military leaders also confirmed the maintenance and serviceability of the already delivered military equipment under its Maintenance, Repairs and Overhaul (MRO) support to the Ukrainian military.
The Estonian package consists of 155mm FH-70 and 122mm D-30 howits, thousands of rounds of 155mm artillery ammunition, support vehicles for artillery units, hundreds of Carl-Gustaf M2 anti-tank grenade launchers with ammunition with total replacement values of 113 million euros.
Under the “Tallinn Pledge”, Poland will continue to provide military and humanitarian assistance. The new polish package consists of S-60 anti-aircraft guns with 70.000 pieces of ammunition. Poland already donated 42 Infantry Fighting Vehicles along with a training package for two mechanized battalions.
In addition, Poland continues delivery of 155mm KRAB howitzers and supplying UKR with various types of ammunition. On top of it, a Polish representative confirmed that the government is ready to donate a company of Leopard 2 tanks with 1000 pieces of ammunition. Poland will form a wider coalition of Leopard 2 tanks donors.
Slovakia: The effort currently focuses on possibilities related to the main battle tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, and air defence systems, but also increased production of howitzers, demining equipment, and ammunition.
The United Kingdom’s package consists of a squadron of Challenger 2 tanks with armoured recovery and repair vehicles and AS90 self-propelled 155mm guns.
UK’s new commitment under the “Tallinn Pledge” in Estonia talks about sending dozens more un-crewed aerial systems to support Ukrainian artillery and hundreds more sophisticated missiles including GMLRS rockets, Starstreak air defence missiles, and Medium-range air defence missiles.