Western countries worry they lack the production capacity to live up to their pledges to supply Ukraine with air defense systems as Putin signals escalation of attacks on the country, according to the Financial Times.
Russia’s latest bombardment Monday that hit critical infrastructure facilities prompted renewed pledges from Western leaders to supply additional advanced air defense systems to Ukraine, the FT reported.
However, production shortfalls have made sourcing difficult, western officials, who declined to be identified, told the outlet.
“Countries have already provided some, but there is a shortage of production capacity,” one official told the FT. Many NATO members are already struggling to address years of delayed production for meeting their own defense needs, much less those of Ukraine, the official added.
President Joe Biden confirmed a decision Monday to donate advanced air defense systems to Ukraine, including two National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAMS) with two months and six additional NASAMS over the longer term, the FT reported, citing a western official.
Amid dwindling inventories, U.S. and allies are reaching for defense systems in other countries that could be redeployed to Ukraine, two senior western officials told the FT.
Zelenskyy pleaded with Western leaders Wednesday for help constructing an “air shield” around the country through accelerated deliveries of air defense systems, CNN reported.
Germany’s defense minister announced Tuesday it had shipped one of four total air defense systems to Ukraine, according to The New York Times. The United Kingdom and Poland have provided a variety of smaller air defense capabilities to Ukraine, as well as larger, more complex truck-mounted platforms.
“I welcome the recent announcements by Allies to provide more advanced air defense systems and other capabilities to Ukraine. And I look forward to further deliveries,” NATO Secretary Jens Stoltenberg said in a briefing Tuesday ahead of the opening of the sixth Ukraine Defense Contact Group, a gathering of over 50 nations to coordinate support for Ukraine.
He added that reducing the existing stocks of member countries in favor of keeping Ukraine armed has been the “right thing to do because it is important for all of us, that Ukraine wins the battle.”
NATO ministers will discuss how to increase production targets and encourage the defense industry to invest in additional production capacity, Stoltenberg said.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III called the first meeting of armaments directors a “success” and an “an important step toward tackling the industrial-base challenges that we face,” in opening remarks at the summit Wednesday.