Yuriko Backes at the Ukraine Defense Contact Group in Ramstein

On 19 March, the Minister of Defence Yuriko Backes attended the meeting of the Ukraine Defence Contact Group (UDCG) in Ramstein, Germany.

©MAEE (fr. l. to r.) Yuriko Backes, Minister of Defence; Rustem Umerov, Ukrainian Minister of Defence
(fr. l. to r.) Yuriko Backes, Minister of Defence; Rustem Umerov, Ukrainian Minister of Defence

Prior to the plenary meeting of the UDCG, Yuriko Backes took part in the Capability Coalition Leadership Group. The aim of this group, which brings together the lead nations of the capability coalitions formed within the UDCG, is to coordinate the work of the various military support initiatives for Ukraine and to address cross-cutting issues. During this session, Yuriko Backes presented the concept and governance of the IT Coalition, led by Luxembourg and Estonia, whose aim is to provide the equipment and software needed to modernise and secure the IT infrastructure and communications capabilities of the Ukrainian armed forces. "As information technology is a catalyst for other military combat capabilities, we invite other coalitions to work with our IT Coalition to identify possible synergies," said Yuriko Backes.

At the plenary session of the UDCG, the Minister of Defence gave a presentation on the progress made by the IT Coalition. To date, ten countries (Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Ukraine) have signed the cooperation agreement and the UK has signed the letter of intent to join the coalition. In 2023, Luxembourg contributed €10 million to launch the first equipment purchases based on the priorities defined by the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence.

At the plenary session, Yuriko Backes also announced that Luxembourg will join the Artillery Coalition, led by France and Germany, which aims to supply Ukraine with 155mm guns and shells, including training for the Ukrainian armed forces. Moreover, Luxembourg will participate in three out of eight capability coalitions: the IT Coalition, the Air Force Capability Coalition and the Artillery Coalition.

To conclude, Yuriko Backes gave an update on Luxembourg's military support to Ukraine. For 2024, the government's draft budget foresees €69.5 million in military assistance, this amount representing a minimum and not a maximum. Since the last UDCG meeting, the Defence Directorate has delivered 6,000 155mm artillery shells, 4,000 machine guns, 500,000 units of 12.7mm ammunition, 10 generators, as well as several items of medical equipment and thermal night vision cameras. "Additional equipment has already been ordered and will be delivered in the coming weeks," announced Yuriko Backes, adding: "Luxembourg will also acquire additional drones as part of a Benelux cooperation."

At this meeting of UDCG defence ministers in Ramstein, Yuriko Backes held talks with her counterparts, including US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin and Ukrainian Defence Minister Rustem Umerov.

The UDCG was created on the initiative of US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin and currently brings together some fifty countries, including the 32 NATO Allies and other countries supporting Ukraine in exercising its right to self-defence against the Russian aggressor.

Press release by the Directorate of Defence    


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