More than 50 countries assembled at the 11th Ramstein summit in Germany over the weekend at the behest of US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to continue providing materiel to Ukraine as it gears up for an anticipated counteroffensive to liberate more territory amid an ongoing war in its 10th year.

Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said the international community of Kyiv backers are veering to establish an international tribunal to prosecute Russia for its numerous war crimes.

“Each meeting in this format not only provides more useful ‘gifts’ for the Ukrainian army, but also aims to bring criminals to justice,” he tweeted.

Last year, Austin started regularly assembling global leaders at the US air base in Ramstein-Miesenbach, Germany to coordinate defense assistance efforts for Ukraine as it withstands an ongoing Russian invasion already in its 10th year. In February 2022, Kremlin autocrat Vladimir Putin launched an all-out invasion to subjugate the nation in what is the European continent’s largest and bloodiest ground war since World War II.

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Reznikov also said before the meeting in Germany that 54 countries were expected to discuss Ukraine’s overall strategy for this year.

To date, the so-called Ukraine Contact Group meeting in Germany has provided Ukraine $55 billion worth of security assistance, $36 billion of which directly from Washington, the US Defense Department said.

Ukraine Regains Position Near Chasiv Yar as Russia Intensifies Offensive
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Ukraine Regains Position Near Chasiv Yar as Russia Intensifies Offensive

The capture of Chasiv Yar could be both a strategic and symbolic victory for Moscow ahead of the May 9 Victory Day, but Ukraine stands defiant in its defense before Western supplies arrive.

“And more countries are thinking about how they can increase industrial production – not just for the near term but also for the medium term and the long term,” Austin said. “And that is a powerful reminder that we stand with Ukraine’s defenders for the long haul.”

The crimes we see daily

The war has been described as the most watched in real-time and has borne witness to alleged war crimes, crimes against humanity, even genocide.

Putin, 70, and his appointed human rights representative for children’s rights, Maria Lvova-Belova, 38, are both wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of war crimes related to abducting Ukrainian minors.

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“Each suspect bears responsibility for the war crime of unlawful deportation of population and that of unlawful transfer of population from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation, in prejudice of Ukrainian children,” the charges allege.

Reznikov, in his social media message, referred to the post-World War II Nuremberg trials that prosecuted high-ranking Nazi Germans for war crimes.

“Russia is getting closer to Nuremberg II,” he said.

Sexual abuse, killing of unarmed civilians, looting, rape and kidnapping of children have been documented by numerous international institutions and human rights groups.

Moscow has changed its versions and rationale for invading the country as evidence mounts of a policy to eradicate the nation and its ethnos that historian Timothy Snyder has described as “genocide.”

More weapons as well

The international meeting in Germany emphasized Kyiv’s need for more air defense as Russia still has an advantage over the skies, though it doesn’t have predominant air superiority.

“Ukraine urgently needs our help to shield its citizens and infrastructure from Russia’s missile threat,” said US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin at the start of the meeting.

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About 80 percent of casualties on both sides are mostly caused by artillery, the Los Angeles Times reported last year. In November, NBC quoted US officials estimating Russian expenditure of 20,000 rounds per day against 4,000-7,000 for Ukraine.

Moscow’s winter campaign of trying to cripple Ukraine’s energy infrastructure with the use of sophisticated projectiles and Iranian-made war drones has largely failed. Still, various Russian rockets still indiscriminately target civilian areas as Kyiv struggles to protect its skies.

Several advanced Patriot air-defense systems have been delivered or are on their way, reported Breaking Defense, an online news site that covers global defense issues.

“The supply of air defense systems to Ukraine already includes the US, Germany and the Netherlands providing Patriots, France and Italy agreeing to send a SAMP/T-MAMBA systems, and Norway and Canada gifting National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS),” the media outlet reported.

Last year, with fewer Western weapons, Ukraine managed to liberate most of the northeastern regions of Kharkiv, all of Sumy and Chernihiv, as well as the northwestern part of the Kherson region lying on the right bank of the Dnipro River.

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Additional weapons have been pledged to Ukraine to continue liberating more occupied territory, including the latest-generation battle tanks, more ammunition for precision-guided artillery and armored personnel carriers.

This year, Ukraine added a new war drone unit to its military structure, but it is not clear how it will be integrated into different units and under what kind of command and control decision-making.

Reznikov said earlier that up the equivalent of $540 million will be spent on the new unit that Ukrainians fondly call “eyes” in the sky.

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