Ukraine's Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said this in his speech at a meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council at the level of defense ministers with the participation of the NATO secretary general, Ukrinform reports.
"There are many indications of Russia preparing for a long-term military operation. The war is entering a protracted phase. We can already see how the Russian occupiers are beginning engineering and fortification works in the Kherson region, in the Zaporizhzhia region in order to move to defense if necessary," Reznikov said.
In view of this, he stressed the need to prevent new casualties among the military and civilians.
"Every day of the war brings casualties among our military and great suffering of the civilian population. Especially in the territories temporarily occupied by Russia. The whole world saw what happened in Bucha. The same 'Buchas' are now taking place wherever Russian troops are stationed. Our people are being kidnapped, tortured, killed," Reznikov said.
He also said that the war is destroying the Ukrainian economy, and the need for funds to rebuild the country is growing day by day.
"The protracted war creates the risk of a global food crisis, as well as another migration crisis. With this in mind, we want to defeat the enemy and liberate our territories as soon as possible. Do not let Russia prolong the conflict. That is why we are very interested in receiving international aid, buying weapons as quickly as possible and in the right quantities. We need tanks, armored vehicles, long-range fire weapons systems (MLRS, heavy artillery, aircraft, missiles). We strive to save the lives of our people," he said.
At the same time, according to Reznikov, "we see the need to increase the effectiveness of international assistance through better coordination between all partners."
"In particular, weapons that we can get in the form of technical assistance or commercial contracts can come in the short, medium and long term. We are interested in coordinating the efforts of all partners - the EU, NATO, the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Japan and other countries - in such a way as to: first, to break down possible deliveries into three baskets - short-term, medium-term, long-term; to be able to build up necessary capabilities and use opportunities for a specific period of time. This is important, including in terms of troops training. Secondly, to look at all deliveries not only in terms of quantity, but also in terms of the criteria of developing the capabilities of the Armed Forces of Ukraine," he stressed.
According to him, the ideal goal is to obtain weapons and military equipment not just as platforms or tubes, but as an organic unit "so that in the end we get not just guns, but also counter-battery means, control machines, UAVs for aiming, air defense / anti-missile means for cover."
"Elements of this complex may come from different countries, but due to integration we will get a qualitative advantage," he said.
According to the minister, to implement this approach, it is necessary to ensure synergies between partners.
"This applies, in particular, to EU Military Staff and European Peace Facility resources, NATO, as well as US EUROCOM and U.S. Government programs," he said.
Reznikov cited the example that the United States has already approved a lend-lease law, and a bill with the specific parameters of assistance to Ukraine is being considered.
"We do not currently have an understanding of the specific needs of EPF resources. We see only generalized figures. This leads, in particular, to the fact that these resources are directed to the positions that Ukraine needs in general, but which can be provided by non-European countries from which we cannot get weapons. Instead, EU resources could be directed to EU products that only they have," he said.
He also said that "there are EU countries that do not have weapons or other positions we need, but they want and can help, in particular, through providing funds."
In this context, the minister suggested that it may be appropriate to consider extending EPF tools, complement it with an element such as a trust fund. "The EU countries, which do not have weapons, could be transferring to this fund's management the financial resources that, at Ukraine's request, will be sent to other EU countries as payment for certain items," Reznikov said.
"We really appreciate the support you provide and we understand that it cannot be unlimited. Therefore, we are interested in its most effective use. We can clearly see that Russia can be defeated on the battlefield. This will free the world from tyranny and Europe from a constant threat. And we look forward to the NATO summit in Madrid. A NATO Strategic Concept for the next 10 years will be adopted. What place will Europe see for Ukraine in the interests of protecting Europe's eastern borders? Do we all present here think about updating the security architecture of Europe, at least? Ukraine has already proven that it can be a reliable security partner. Strengthening Ukraine is strengthening Europe in the east," Reznikov said.
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