NATO promises to arm Ukraine with modern military equipment

Ukraine’s long-standing pleas — and prayers — for advanced Western weapons are about to be answered as NATO has formally said it will help the eastern European country convert to modern military kit.

It was part of a series of historic decisions made over a two-day summit of leaders of the Western military alliance in Madrid.

“A strong independent Ukraine is vital for the stability of the Euro-Atlantic area,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said while briefing the media late Wednesday.

His remarks came after what was a blistering video address to alliance leaders by President Volodomyr Zelensky, whose country has for more than a dozen years been trying to join NATO.

He asked them: Has Ukraine “not paid enough” to join the alliance? His remarks from him came on the same day as Finland and Sweden were put on the fast track to join the alliance.

“We will help Ukraine transition from Soviet-era equipment to modern NATO equipment, boost interoperability and strengthen its defense and security institutions,” said Stoltenberg.

Ukraine has lost tanks, armored personnel carriers

CBC News has learned that NATO planners and US officials are looking at how to switch the Ukrainians to modern battle tanks from the older Soviet-style T-72s and T-80s they’ve been fighting with.

An older model Russian T-72 tank sits burned out and destroyed in the village of Biskvitne, east of Kharkiv. It was wrecked in fighting with Ukrainian troops, who retook the area in April 2022. (Murray Brewster/CBC)

Although the Ukrainians will not confirm the number, defense experts estimate a little less than half of Ukraine’s tank force has been lost in combat, along with two-thirds of their armored personnel carriers.

Additionally, there have been reports that suggest the US has purchased a modern National Advanced Surface to Air Missile System for Ukraine — similar to the one that already protects the US capital.

It would boost Ukraine’s ability to protect its skies from Russian aircraft and cruise missiles.

The country is currently using older Soviet-built systems, such as the S-300 long-range missile batteries.

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