NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at a press conference after the Alliance Defense Ministers meeting in Brussels, February 15, 2023.
Brussels – The states of the North Atlantic Alliance have agreed to cooperate in expanding the production of ammunition and military equipment, the stocks of which have dwindled due to the protracted Russian aggression against Ukraine. This was announced by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg after the meeting of the alliance's defense ministers, according to which some countries have already started increasing the production of, for example, artillery ammunition.
Today, according to Stoltenberg, the ministers also approved the alliance's new defense plan for the coming years, which responds, among other things, to the Russian threat. The alliance will coordinate improving the protection of critical infrastructure and focus on submarine networks, Stoltenberg added.
During two days of talks in Brussels, representatives of the allied governments agreed to provide Ukraine with the additional weapons and ammunition it needs to repel an expected Russian offensive and possibly gain the initiative on the battlefield.
“Ukraine has an opportunity to tip the balance on our side. We are playing for time,” Stoltenberg declared. According to him, the allied countries have decided to cooperate in building new production capacities so that they can continue to supply Kyiv with sufficient ammunition.
It is also related to the strategy approved by the ministers setting out the direction in which the common defense of the alliance should be oriented in the next four years. It will be determined mainly by the defense against Russian expansionism, but also the threat of terrorism or the security challenge posed by China.
“For this we need the acquisition of new weapon systems, an increase in ammunition stocks and the building of new military capabilities, especially in the field of modern technologies, Czech Minister of Defense Jana Černochová told journalists after the meeting. She did not provide details about possible Czech activities in expanding military capacities and ammunition stocks. According to her, the ministers made it clear that the alliance as a whole would not hesitate to use new weapons in the event of a threat to one of its members.
The ministers also discussed the increase in defense spending, which most had begun to count on in connection with Russian aggression countries. Černochová reiterated that the Czech Republic will devote two percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) to defense spending next year, i.e. a year earlier than originally planned.