Zelensky arrives on a visit to Belgium and will participate in the Ramstein meeting: the hall applauded him after his speech with Stoltenberg. Video
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky has arrived on an official visit to Belgium. A regular meeting of the international Ukraine Defense Contact Group "Ramstein" will take place in Brussels today, October 11.
The visit was announced by the President himself on his official Telegram channel. According to Le Soir, the Ukrainian president intends to meet with the Belgian government, Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin, and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, as well as join the Ramstein meeting.
"Brussels, Belgium. A visit to NATO Headquarters will be important for our resilience this winter. I will hold meetings with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. I will take part in the Ramstein meeting offline for the first time. I have an important appeal to all the present defense ministers of the countries participating in this powerful coalition," Zelensky emphasized.
At about 10:00 a.m. Kyiv time, Zelensky arrived at NATO headquarters to participate in the Ramstein meeting offline for the first time.
The Head of State, together with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, spoke to journalists before the start of the Ramstein meeting.
The Ukrainian president was greeted with applause by media representatives.
Later, the Ukrainian president is scheduled to meet with Belgian Prime Minister Alexander de Croo, as well as with the ministers of defense and foreign affairs.
"They will discuss several topics, including the collection of taxes from Russian funds frozen in Euroclear to finance humanitarian and military aid to Ukraine, the 'Belgian method' to prevent the trade of Russian diamonds and the famous F-16 case," Le Soir reported.
The Ukrainian president himself described his expectations from the talks with the Belgian prime minister more succinctly.
"I will hold talks in Brussels with Belgian Prime Minister Alexander de Croo for the second time since the beginning of the full-scale war. The main thing is our joint defense of freedom and people," he said.
A joint press conference between Zelensky and De Croo is also planned, during which the Belgian prime minister will announce a new military aid package for Ukraine.
"Belgium has already donated military equipment worth 280 million euros, and all attention is focused on the fact that Belgium will finally be able to donate 'several' F-16 fighters. We are talking about two to four aircraft, as confirmed by Defense Minister Ludivine Dedonder on Bel RTL. Ukraine urgently needs high-performance fighter-bombers to counter the Russian army as part of its counteroffensive. Three European NATO member states (the Netherlands, Norway and Denmark) have already promised sixty aircraft, but Ukraine estimates that it needs twice as many," the Belgian outlet said.
The Belgian media also recalled that Belgium is already involved in training Ukrainian pilots and about fifty mechanics within the F-16 coalition along with other European NATO member states.
As a reminder, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky visited Belgium for the first time on February 9-10 this year. During that visit, the Ukrainian president met with King Philippe of Belgium and handed over a piece of a Russian SU-25 aircraft shot down in Ukraine.
Zelensky also addressed a plenary session of the European Parliament.