US meets with allies on upping arms shipments to Ukraine

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany — Top US officials are hosting emergency talks with allies in Germany on supplying Kyiv with more weapons to fend off Russia’s assault, as the UN’s chief headed to Moscow in a bid to avert further escalation of the conflict.

Today’s meeting of 40 countries at the US Ramstein Air Base in Germany comes after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused Ukraine of only “pretending” to negotiate a ceasefire and warned of a “real” risk of a new world war.

Moscow’s invasion of its neighbor, now in its eighth week, has triggered widespread outrage among Western nations who have provided weapons and other assistance to Ukraine’s embattled president, Volodymyr Zelensky.

But the Western powers have been reluctant to deepen their direct involvement, wary of drawing Moscow’s ire and sparking military confrontations beyond Ukraine’s borders.

“We believe that they can win if they have the right equipment, the right support,” US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said following his visit to Kyiv on Sunday with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

The two officials promised $700 million in new aid to Ukraine, after months of pleas by Zelensky for heavier firepower.

And Germany said it would begin supplying anti-aircraft tanks, a clear shift after refusing for weeks to provide more advanced equipment, and a sign that Berlin was abandoning its cautious approach towards Moscow.

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