Needs to maintain own capabilities
Portugal’s defence minister Helena Carreiras said today that, “at this moment”, the country is not in a position to supply more weapons to Ukraine – despite the appeal to Member States to do so made by NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg on Monday.
Ms Carreiras said the government must balance aid to Kyiv with the need to maintain Portugal’s own capabilities.
Quizzed by journalists about Jens Stoltenberg’s appeal, she admitted she agreed with him, but “balance” is needed: “We have helped Ukraine; we help it with the material we can make available at each moment, seeking a balance between that aid and the maintenance of our capabilities”.
Ms Carreiras added that aid provided by Portugal is not only visible in terms of donations of equipment – for example, Leopard 2 tanks (promised for March) – but also as “a coordinated set, which includes training, and the maintenance and sustainment of these resources.”
At the same time, NATO member states helping Ukraine’s armed forces have to “think about war reserves, munitions, industrial development” – in short, they need to be mindful of Jens Stoltenberg’s message that countries making up the military alliance need to increase munitions production.
The decision by Portugal comes at a time when international focus is honing in on how much both sides in the war are using in terms of basic armaments, and how difficult it will be to maintain this demand long-term.