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I UNDERSTAND
English Section

Ukraine needs heavy weapons, Polish defence minister tells conference

27.04.2022 08:00
Poland’s defence minister said that Ukraine needed heavy weapons as he attended an international conference on Tuesday to discuss military support for the country invaded by Russia.
Audio
Polands Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak attends a US-led conference on military aid to Ukraine, at Ramstein Air Base in southwestern Germany on Tuesday, April 26, 2022.
Poland's Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak attends a US-led conference on military aid to Ukraine, at Ramstein Air Base in southwestern Germany on Tuesday, April 26, 2022.Twitter/Polish Defence Ministry

Mariusz Błaszczak was among top military officials from more than 40 nations who convened at Ramstein Air Base in southwestern Germany to discuss how to deliver more lethal aid to Ukraine, Polish state news agency PAP reported.

Chaired by US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, the day-long meeting aimed to coordinate efforts to assist Ukraine in combating the Russian invasion, officials said.

Afterwards, Błaszczak told reporters: “This was the first conference. There are more to come. I believe coordination will be beneficial to Ukraine - we’ll be able to respond to concrete needs formulated by the Ukrainian side.”

Heavy weaponry for Ukraine

“Heavy weapons are indispensable,” the Polish defence minister said. He added: “We discussed this, as well as anti-aircraft systems - these are Ukraine’s two main aims.” 

He told reporters that “such support is and will be provided in coordination with NATO partners."

Poland’s leading role

Błaszczak said that his Ukrainian counterpart Oleksii Reznikov, who also took part in the conference, had thanked Poland for helping boost Ukraine’s defences.

"Other attendees expressed appreciation for Poland and its leading role in providing military aid to Ukraine,” Błaszczak told the media.

Referring to his speech at the closed-door meeting, he said: “I stressed the importance of Ukraine’s independence, not only for the security of Poland and fellow countries on NATO’s eastern flank, but for the security of Europe and the whole world.” 

Ukraine Defense Consultative Group

Meanwhile, Austin told reporters that Tuesday’s conference would be turned into a monthly "contact group." 

Dubbed the Ukraine Defense Consultative Group, the format is designed “to further discuss how best to assist Ukraine,” the Pentagon chief added.    

Austin went on to say: "The contact group will be a vehicle for nations of goodwill to intensify our efforts, coordinate our assistance, and focus on winning today's fight and the struggles to come."

Wednesday is day 63 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

(pm/gs)

Sources: PAPdefense.gov

Click on the audio player above for a report by Radio Poland's Michał Owczarek.