Ben Wallace has said Russia is in danger of running out of weapons much quicker than Ukraine because they “isolated” themselves from their suppliers, while NATO has the ability to “refurbish or manufacture” new supply chains. Speaking ahead of a second day of NATO defence minister talks, Mr Wallace said “there is no risk” of the West being outlived by Russia by virtue of a greater supply of weapons. On Thursday morning, NATO allies issued a request to purchase more air defence systems from manufacturers in light of Russia’s mass attacks on Ukraine earlier this week.
Asked if there was a chance the West could run out weapons supplies before Russia, Mr Wallace said: “No, there is not a risk
“Russia has already isolated itself, and we saw that yesterday at the United Nations vote, and they need a supply chain. Large parts of their supply chain were not in Russia. They came from all over the world, including from Europe and even Ukraine.
“But we have the ability to refurbish or manufacture a new supply chain, which is what we are doing right now.
“The UK-Danish joint lead international fund is all about placing orders in a manufacturing space to make sure that we can go on between 2023 and 2024, and keep going on.”
Germany and 13 NATO allies on Thursday signed a letter of intent for the joint procurement of air defence systems in the category of systems such as Arrow 3 and Patriot.
The signing ceremony took place at NATO’s headquarters in Brussels. The participating countries were Germany, Britain, Slovakia, Norway, Latvia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Belgium, Czechia, Finland, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Romania and Slovenia.
The move came as Russian missiles pounded more than 40 Ukrainian cities and towns, officials said on Thursday, after a UN General Assembly resolution called Moscow’s annexation of Ukrainian territory “illegal” and Ukraine’s allies committed more military aid.
Russia repeated its position that the West, by helping Ukraine, indicated that “they are a direct party to the conflict” and warned the admission of Ukraine to NATO could trigger World War Three.
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Britain has announced that it will send anti-aircraft missiles to Ukraine to help defend its skies against Russian attacks, in a bid to “augment” the air defence systems supplied by the US.
The Amraam rockets are the first donated by Britain that are capable of shooting down cruise missiles. It is hoped the new air-defence missiles will help protect Ukrainian infrastructure after Moscow launched a wave of deadly missile and drone attacks on the country’s cities and power plants this week.
Vladimir Putin and his forces were subsequently accused of war crimes by the UK and G7 allies, who vowed to “continue to provide financial, humanitarian, military, diplomatic and legal support and… stand firmly with Ukraine for as long as it takes”.
The shift in the Kremlin’s strategy to attacks on civilian areas and infrastructure came in retaliation for an explosion that damaged the strategically and symbolically important Kerch Bridge, linking Russia to the annexed Crimean peninsula.
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