Four African countries have been invited to the defense summit organized by the United States to push for more support for Ukraine against Russia.
The United States hosted defense officials from several countries at Ramstein Air Base in Germany for the conference on Tuesday.
The list of invited countries reported by breaking defense show that 43 countries, including non-NATO member states, have been invited. Among them are Kenya, Liberia, Morocco, Tunisia, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, Qatar and Jordan, Sweden and Finland. It was unclear whether African countries attended the meeting, or why they were invited.
African nations have been torn between backing Russia and Ukraine, and many have tried to maintain official neutrality. In the last UN General Assembly vote on expelling Russia from the UN Human Rights Council, half of them, including Nigeria, abstained.
Although it was one of the first to condemn the Russian invasion, Kenya stayed out of the vote, as did Tunisia and Morocco. Liberia voted in favor of suspension.
Ukraine had previously recalled its ambassador to Morocco for failing to convince the Moroccan government to punish Russia. Morocco chose to remain neutral by not participating in UN votes on Russia, a decision many suspect was the result of Morocco’s actions on Western Sahara.
Tuesday’s conference secured pledges from allies to continue military aid to Ukraine throughout the war. The meeting saw a major pledge from Germany, which said it would deliver tanks to Ukraine as part of a sea change in policy on supplying military equipment to the country.
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“We want to make it harder for Russia to threaten its neighbors and less able to do so,” Deutsche Welle quoted US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin as saying. Mr. Austin added that the conference would evolve into a monthly Ukraine self-defense contact group.
At the conference, the German government confirmed that it would approve the delivery of anti-aircraft tanks to Ukraine. This was announced by German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht.
As part of the plan, Berlin will grant the arms company Krauss-Maffei Wegmann permission to send anti-aircraft gun tanks “Gepard” – the German word for cheetah – to Ukraine. Ms Lambrecht also said Ukrainian soldiers were being trained to use artillery systems in Germany.
“We are working with our American friends to train Ukrainian troops on artillery systems on German soil,” DW said.
Other countries are also providing support by donating various wartime equipment: the UK said it has distributed more than 200,000 items so far, including 4,800 NLAW anti-tank missiles and a small number of Javelin missiles. It also provided Starstreak anti-aircraft missiles and tanks.
France sends its Caesar mobile howitzer and the Czech Republic delivers its old self-propelled howitzers. In addition to sending howitzers, Canada must deliver “Excalibur” guided shells that can travel more than 40 kilometers (25 miles) and deliver precisely targeted munitions.
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