Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg stated that NATO defense ministers attending a two-day conference beginning on Wednesday would address increasing weapons shipments to Ukraine and Sweden and Finland's applications to join the transatlantic military alliance.
Less than two weeks before a summit of NATO leaders in Madrid, Kyiv is pleading with the West to provide more and heavier weapons to defend eastern Ukraine from Russia's assault.
"Allies are committed to continuing to supply Ukraine with the military equipment it needs to prevail, including heavy weapons and long-range systems," added Stoltenberg.
He added that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy would be invited to speak in person or through a video link at the summit in Madrid on June 29-30.
After more than three and a half months of conflict, increased armament supplies could not arrive fast enough for the Ukrainian soldiers fighting to prevent Russia from seizing control of their country's industrial past.
In his nightly speech to the country on Tuesday, Zelenskyy asked for more and faster deployments of Western armaments, requesting anti-missile defense systems in particular.
Wednesday, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will host a meeting at the Brussels NATO headquarters to discuss arms delivery to Ukraine.
On Tuesday, Deputy Ukrainian Defense Minister Hanna Malyar stated that the invading nation's military has received less than ten percent of the Western weapons required "to create parity with the Russian army."
Malyar stated at a televised news conference, "No matter how hard Ukraine tries or how professional our army is, we will not be able to win this war without assistance from our Western allies."
She stated that Ukraine employs 5,000 to 6,000 artillery rounds daily, while Russia employs ten times that amount.
Since Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the defense ministers meeting this week will also debate efforts to bolster forces along NATO's eastern frontier, which have gained momentum.
Stoltenberg refused to commit to a timeline for the accession of Sweden and Finland to NATO. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan obstructs the membership applications because he accuses the Nordic states of aiding terrorist Kurdish fighters.
Stoltenberg stated, "My goal is to resolve this issue as soon as possible, but since multiple nations are involved in this process, I cannot give you an exact timeline."
Due to Turkey's reservations, "this will take longer than we initially anticipated," he said.
Ben Wallace, secretary of defense for the United Kingdom, stated at a meeting in Oslo on Wednesday that the goal of the NATO summit in Madrid is to ensure that Sweden and Finland successfully take the next step toward NATO membership.
Wallace stated, "I believe it is crucial that we listen to and comprehend Turkey's concerns and work toward a position where Turkey will support the accession and we can mitigate any of these concerns."