The Biden administration confirmed Monday that it is preparing to ship more advanced, long- and short-range missile defense systems to Ukraine, as NATO announced it will massively boost the number of its troops at high readiness to 300,000.
The moves come as leaders at the gathering of the G7, the world’s largest economic powers, pledged their commitment to Kyiv for “as long as it takes.”
Members of the Group of Seven agreed on Monday to increase financial penalties against Russia for its war against Ukraine, including a proposal to cap the price of Russian oil.
The renewed commitment from the G7 members at their annual meeting in the Bavarian Alps came after President Volodymyr Zelensky appeared on a video link before the gathering and sought more firepower and air defense systems for Ukraine’s fight against Russia.
White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters that the administration was on board with Zelensky’s main request for more air defense after Russia targeted the capital Kyiv with missile attacks over the weekend and continues to bombard other cities across the country.
Sullivan said during the call Zelensky voiced his “desire to get additional air defense capabilities that could shoot down Russian missiles out of the sky. So the president was able to be positively responsible to him on that.”
But he said the “bulk” of the conversation was “about the way forward and how President Zelensky sees the course of the war and is trying to assimilate and incorporate all of the assistance he’s been given to maximize Ukraine’s capacity both to resist Russian advances and to pursue counterattacks where possible.”
Saying he couldn’t go into too much detail because much of the conversation dealt with strategy, Sullivan said, “Zelensky was very much focused on trying to ensure that Ukraine is in as advantageous a position on the battlefield as possible in the next months as opposed to the next years because he believes that a grinding conflict is not in the interest of the Ukrainian people.”
Following Zelensky’s presentation, the G7 members pledged in a statement to stand with Ukraine “for as long as it takes,” highlighting their “unwavering commitment to support the government and people of Ukraine” as it seeks to preserve its sovereignty.
The members — US, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the European Union — also said G7 finance ministers were working to finalize a deal for a price cap on Russian oil and how it would affect the Russian economy, already reeling from previous sanctions imposed by the US and its Western allies.
Also Monday, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance will increase its reaction force from 40,000 troops to 300,000, calling it the “biggest overhaul of collective defense and deterrence since the Cold War.”
“These troops will exercise together with home defense forces,” he said. “And they will become familiar with local terrain, facilities, and our new pre-positioned stocks. So that they can respond smoothly and swiftly to any emergency.”
Stoletenberg made the remarks on Monday before a NATO summit later this week in Madrid where allies are expected to discuss further support to Ukraine.
With Post wires