NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg made an unannounced visit Thursday to Ukraine, his first to the country since Russia invaded more than a year ago.
The NATO chief went to a memorial for fallen soldiers and reviewed damaged Russian military equipment on display in Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv.
Stoltenberg has routinely voiced support for NATO members supplying arms to help Ukrainian forces, and he has seen the size of the alliance grow with Finland joining this month in response to the invasion. A similar application from Finland’s neighbor, Sweden, has been approved by all NATO members except Hungary and Turkey.
NATO members Denmark and the Netherlands announced Thursday they are partnering to buy and refurbish 14 Leopard 2-A4 tanks to Ukraine.
The Dutch and Danish defense ministries said the tanks would be ready for delivery to Ukrainian forces early next year. Denmark and the Netherlands will share the $180 million cost.
Ukraine has asked allies to provide heavy equipment such as tanks in order to be able to match up against Russian forces.
The tank deal followed Wednesday’s announcement from Ukraine’s defense minister that Patriot air defense systems had arrived in the country. The missile systems were another wish list item for Ukraine to better defend against Russian aerial attacks. [VOA/JS]