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Western nations pledge $1.5B in military aid to Ukraine

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British Secretary of State and Defense Ben Wallace (L), Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov (R) and Danish Defense Minister Morten Bodskov were among the representatives from 26 countries who met in Copenhagen on Thursday to agree on further military support for Ukraine. Photo courtesy of Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov.
British Secretary of State and Defense Ben Wallace (L), Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov (R) and Danish Defense Minister Morten Bodskov were among the representatives from 26 countries who met in Copenhagen on Thursday to agree on further military support for Ukraine. Photo courtesy of Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov.

Aug. 11 (UPI) -- The defense ministers and representatives from 26 democratic nations met Thursday in Copenhagen where they collectively pledged more than $1.5 billion in military support for Ukraine that those present described as a recommitment to standing on the side of peace and democracy and against aggression.

Danish Defense Minister Morten Bodskov announced the collective donation toward weapons, training and demining activities for Kyiv during a press conference following the completion of the one-day conference in northern Europe.

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"Today, 26 countries as well as the European Union have met here in Copenhagen and have sent a clear signal. Ukraine's fight is our fight. We stand together and we stand with Ukraine," he said.

Numerous specifics on agreements made were withheld from the press due to military concerns, but Bodskov said issues discussed included increasing funding to Ukraine and training for Ukrainian soldiers as well as not only the purchasing of weapons but increasing production of arms in the medium- and long-term. The fourth topic tackled was ways to assist the eastern European country with demining.

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A joint proclamation produced during the meeting states that the countries have "agreed to continue and enhance their funding of military assistance to Ukraine within these four priority areas based on national decisions and procedures."

Bodskov said Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic have "signaled a willingness" to expand production of artillery systems, ammunition and other forms of lethal equipment.

Britain pledged more than $304.6 million of the $1.2 billion earmarked in late June for Ukrainian military assistance to a fund that aims to provide a steady flow of money to cover not only weapons but essential maintenance and training.

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Denmark said it will add another $113.6 million to finance weapons and training. Its defense ministry also committed to supporting a British-led training project with 130 Danish soldiers as well as simultaneously train Ukrainian soldiers in Denmark.

Iceland, Bodskov added, will also be taking a leading role in training Ukrainians, though the specifics were not articulated.

The Danish defense minister said that he does not expect this to be the end of assistance produced by the conference as more will be coming from unspecified countries in attendance that need to take proposals back to their parliaments.

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who spoke remotely during the conference, told his people in his nightly address that much of the money donated will be spent on producing "vital ammunition."

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"I am thankful to everyone who supported Ukraine today in Copenhagen, and I believe that this format of cooperation will accelerate our joint victory," he said.

The donations by Denmark were announced during the opening speech of the Nordic nation's prime minister, Mette Frederiksen, who said Russia's war in Ukraine has made countries ask themselves questions about what they are willing to do to stand up for their values, the rules-based world order and their friends in times of need.

"The answers to these questions have the power to decide our future," she said. "Years from now my guess will be our children and our grandchildren will look back on our actions and we must be able to look them in the eyes and say we did the right thing, we stood firm on our values and we stood firm on the values that we want to pass onto the future generations: democracy, peace and justice."

Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24 sparking a war that experts believe President Vladimir Putin expected would be over in days.

A common talking point by some speakers during the conference was to say their meeting was a signal that the international community was not going to fade from the conflict over time.

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Ben Wallace, Britain's secretary of State for Defense, said Putin gambled incorrectly that democratic nations would lose interest in his war.

"Today is proof of the opposite," he said. "We're here to show that six months on we're still as determined as an international community to stand up to him and to stand up to the threat and to help Ukraine re-establish its sovereign territory."

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