MADRID — Italy “shall be supplying” Ukraine with heavy weapons “related” to the howitzers that Germany and the Netherlands are sending to the nation, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte stated Wednesday as he urged different NATO companions to step up arms deliveries.
Sending trendy artillery gear would mark a major enhance in Italy’s navy assist for Ukraine, though Rome has but to verify the transfer.
Requested by POLITICO on the sidelines of a NATO leaders’ summit within the Spanish capital, Rutte stated his “large concern in the mean time” was the “tough” navy state of affairs in jap Ukraine, the place Russian troops have made gradual however fixed advances in latest weeks. “It’s extremely necessary that Ukraine is getting equipped with adequate heavy weapon programs,” Rutte added.
The Dutch chief stated that Germany and Netherlands had already beefed up their engagement by asserting they’ll ship six state-of-the-art Panzerhaubitze 2000 howitzers to Ukraine, along with 12 of the identical items of artillery that the 2 nations delivered final week.
Whereas Rutte stated that his nation didn’t have many extra heavy weapons to ship, he harassed that “Italy has determined to contribute as properly.”
Requested whether or not this meant that Italy would additionally ship the German-made Panzerhaubitze 2000 howitzers, which Rome has in its military shares, Rutte replied that “we nonetheless must see” whether or not will probably be the Panzerhaubitzes, however added that “they [the Italians] have stated that along with what the Netherlands and Germany are doing, they are going to be supplying related materials.”
Rutte’s remarks come as Rome has been dealing with rising stress to step up its arms deliveries to Ukraine. German Protection Minister Christine Lambrecht requested her Italian colleague Lorenzo Guerini in April whether or not Rome may take part in joint deliveries of artillery to Ukraine, however was rebuffed.
A spokesperson for the Italian protection ministry refused to touch upon a possible supply of howitzers, saying that “in Italy, the checklist of fabric [for Ukraine] is assessed.”
Rutte additionally lambasted different NATO allies for not sending sufficient heavy armory to Ukraine, with out specifying which nations he was referring to.
“You continue to see within the NATO space that there are nations which can be hesitant” to produce heavy weapons to the Ukrainian military, he stated. Rutte stated he didn’t need to identify and disgrace “as a result of for those who accomplish that then you definitely additionally know that they’re undoubtedly not going to do it.”
But, “everybody is aware of precisely who is supposed by that,” he added.
“It’s extremely necessary that each one nations that also have stuff on the shelf ship it [to Ukraine],” Rutte stated. “Which may imply that within the coming months you received’t have the ability to totally defend your individual territory, however in the mean time it’s necessary that we prioritize Ukraine.”
German International Minister Annalena Baerbock stated Wednesday on the NATO summit that the extra six Dutch and German artillery items may very well be delivered “instantly” since Ukrainian troopers have already been educated utilizing these weapons.