Brussels, 13 October 2023 (TDI): The President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, joined the Ukraine Defense Contact Group meeting including 50 defense leaders from around the world at the NATO headquarters in Brussels to pitch military support.

The meeting is held in the face of lagging political support in the United States and new pressure on allies to send weapons to bolster Israel’s war with Hamas, in a statement released on Wednesday.

Zelensky’s presence underscored growing concerns about diminishing support for Kyiv against Russia. He believed it to be worrisome that Ukrainian forces have not made progress in the counteroffensive as winter closes in.

Addressing concerns to the Ukrainian Defense Contact Group, Zelensky said that Ukraine could get less military aid due to the conflict in the Middle East.

Additionally, the U.S. and Europe can provide a “very understandable volume,” he added.

Support for Ukraine

Austin declared that the United States will assume a new leadership position in the broader effort to develop Ukraine’s air force, particularly with F-16 fighter jets.

He stated that the United States, in collaboration with Denmark and the Netherlands, will take a leading role in a coalition to facilitate the donation of aircraft, their ongoing maintenance, and pilot training.

In the US, that training has already begun. Austin predicted that the training would take several months and that Ukraine might not be using the F-16s until the following spring.

Other nations also announced new support for Ukraine.

Also Read: NATO stands firm with Ukraine against Russian aggression

Ludovine Dedonder, Belgium’s defense minister, confirmed Belgium’s commitment to supplying F-16s to Ukraine and offering maintenance and technical support, although this will not take place until after 2025.

Dutch Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren announced that the Netherlands will provide three unarmed MQ-9 Reaper drone systems for monitoring NATO’s eastern flank.

The mission is slated to last for a minimum of six months, commencing in the first quarter of 2024. These drones will be stationed at the Campia Turzii airbase in Romania and will be primarily utilized for intelligence gathering purposes.