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Western nations pledge $1.55 billion in military aid to Ukraine

Volodymyr Zelenskyy, president of Ukraine, visits Moffett Air National Guard Base, California, Sept. 2, 2021. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Duane Ramos)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

Western countries committed more than 1.5 billion euros ($1.55 billion) in cash, equipment, and training on August 11 during a donor conference to boost Ukraine’s military capabilities in its war against Russia.

The money was pledged by 26 countries at the conference of defense ministers in Copenhagen, Danish Defense Minister Morten Bodskov told journalists.

“All the countries that came to Copenhagen came with the intention of supporting Ukraine,” Bodskov said at the end of the one-day meeting.

The money will be used to supply weapons, missiles, and ammunition, increase weapon production for Ukraine, train Ukrainian soldiers, and demine war-torn areas in Ukraine.

The defense ministers of Poland, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic signaled a willingness to expand the production of artillery systems, ammunition, and other military equipment for Ukraine, Bodskov said.

In a joint statement, the countries pledged to ensure continued and sustained military support for Ukraine and agreed to hold a virtual meeting in September.

Britain pledged an additional 300 million euros, including multiple-launch rocket systems and precision guided M31A1 missiles that can strike targets up to 80 kilometers away.

British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said the donations were “proof of the opposite” of what Russian President Vladimir Putin would have bet would be true by now — that Western governments “would have all got bored of the conflict and the international community would have gone off in different directions.”

Wallace also said that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was “starting to fail in many areas.”

Denmark also made additional commitments to help Ukraine’s military defense.

“We will not let you down,” Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said as she opened the conference. Denmark said a new contribution of $113 million would push the total amount of funding from the small northern nation of 5.8 million to over $500 million. She called it “a huge donation.”

Ukraine has made repeated appeals to the West to send more weapons, including long-range artillery, while Moscow has accused Western countries of dragging out the conflict by giving Ukraine more arms.

Russia took apparent steps on August 11 to strengthen its control over the eastern Luhansk region after driving out the last Ukrainian troops last month.

Dmitry Medvedev, the former Russian president, said he was joined on a visit to the region by Russia’s top law enforcement and security officials and also the minister in charge of construction.

Medvedev, who is now vice chairman of the Russian Security Council, said on Telegram that they met in the city of Luhansk with local Kremlin-backed officials to discuss “restoring infrastructure, repairing hospitals and preparing schools for the start of the school year, solving social problems, and supporting civilians.”

Luhansk and Donetsk make up the Donbas, the area that has been the focus of the war for months. While Moscow already controls Luhansk, it is now fighting to take the remainder of Donetsk.