Ramstein-9: Aftermath and Key Takeaways

February 16, 2023
UkraineWorld spoke to Dmytro Sniehyrov, military expert, co-chairman of the public initiative Prava Sprava.
Photo credit: Reuters

Key points - in our brief, #UkraineWorldAnalysis:

1. On logistiсal support of the Ukrainian Armed Forces

  • The issue of logistiс support of the Ukrainian Armed Forces was resolved at Ramstein-9. Repair bases will be created on the territory of NATO countries such as Poland and the Czech Republic. Beyond the training of tank crews, even more crucial is the training of the technicians who will service Challenger-2, Leopards, Abrams, Soviet modernized T-72, and AMX-56 Leclerc tanks. 
  • The decision was made to supply several types of IFV. Therefore, the first key issue that was resolved is the provision of equipment with a repair base and training of service technicians for each individual unit.

2. On the production of projectiles

  • The second key issue was the increase in the production of projectiles in former Warsaw Pact factories by NATO countries. The supply of both Soviet 152 and new 155 mm shells is being agreed on.
  • The US is allocating 500 mln dollars specifically for the production of shells. That is another big positive of the Ramstein meeting, because at the moment, the Russians are outstripping us in terms of barrel artillery at a 3:1 ratio. Rammstein-9 took place in order to correct this imbalance. In the USA, the production of 155 mm projectiles will be increased to 240,000 in 2023. For comparison, Russia's plans are for the production of 125,000. In addition, the issue of the un-mothballing  factories producing Soviet-type 152 mm projectiles (in Poland, the Czech Republic, and Bulgaria) has been resolved.

3. On the multi-layered air defense system

  • The third key positive from the Ramstein meeting is the solving of the issue of creating a multi-layered air defense system. In particular, this means the transferring of the Franco-Italian SAMP/T, which can shoot down ballistic missiles, which has been problematic for the Ukrainian Armed Forces and the reason why the Russians have terrorized Ukraine with Iskanders, S-300, S-400, and other missiles.
  • There was also the matter of short-range anti-aircraft guns, like the German Gepards, where the issue of increasing the production of projectiles for them has been resolved. The Gepards primarily work well on drones, so the security of our energy infrastructure will be much improved thanks to Ramstein-9.

4. On NATO rhetoric

  • The change in the rhetoric of the leading NATO countries is also important. Ramstein meetings are happening often now, compared to the first meetings, which refutes the Russian myth that the West is tiring of Ukraine.
  • Currently, the Ukrainian Armed Forces have been given material and technical support totalling 40 billion dollars. For context, the annual defense budget of Ukraine is 4 billion dollars.

5. On duration of training on new weaponry

  • The training of pilots takes up to 6-9 months, or 3 months in accelerated mode. The training of aviation technicians takes at least 1 year. Moreover, there is the open question on creation of a logistics base where aircraft can be serviced.
  • The pragmatic West understands that it is better to give air defense systems with a range of 150 km, which will work effectively, than to give fighters that can be neutralized by Russian air defense systems.
  • The Su-24 is a Soviet supersonic bomber, and its transfer will strengthen the process of de-occupying Ukrainian territories. Ramstein is creating the conditions for a counteroffensive, and the nature of the provided weapons is offensive. This is a change in the tactics of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Western countries are interested in the de-occupation of Ukraine and Russia's military defeats, not just in the active defense of Ukraine.
Dmytro Sniehyrov, military expert, co-chairman of the public initiative Prava Sprava

This material was prepared with financial support from the International Renaissance Foundation.