World leaders meeting in Bavaria have called on Western allies to increase military aid to Kiev. The Munich Security Conference comes before the one-year anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, appealed for increased military support in areas such as ammunition.
“I think it’s really time to speed up and scale up the production of the standardized products that Ukraine desperately needs,” she said. “For example, standardized ammunition. We cannot wait months and years until we can replenish (stockpiles) and until we can deliver it to Ukraine.”
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak also called for a “doubling” of military aid to Ukraine, highlighting Britain’s recent commitment to provide battle tanks, advanced air defense systems and long-range missiles to the country.
Sunak urged other nations to follow suit before Russia launches an expected spring offensive.
And NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said there was “no indication” that Vladimir Putin “has changed his ambitions”.
At this critical time in the conflict, it is important to “give Ukraine what it needs to win and survive as an independent sovereign nation in Europe,” he said.
“The biggest risk of all is that Putin wins. If Putin wins in Ukraine, the message to him and other authoritarian leaders will be that they can use violence to get what they want,” he warned.
At the same time, the United States formally accused Russia of committing crimes against humanity in Ukraine. Vice President Kamala Harris said the international community had both a moral and a strategic interest in pursuing these crimes.
“Russian forces have pursued a widespread and systemic attack on a civilian population — horrific acts of murder, torture, rape and deportation,” Harris explained. She also cited “murder, beatings and execution-style electric shocks.”
On Friday, Moscow claimed a small win in its grinding offensive, with the mercenary group Wagner reporting the capture of a village near Bakhmut.