1 of 6 | Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov (C) arrives to attend the NATO defense ministers meeting in Brussels, Belgium, on Wednesday. Defense ministers of NATO member states met on Wednesday in Brussels to discuss ways to provide military aid for Ukraine. Photo by NATO/UPI | License Photo
Oct. 13 (UPI) -- Several democratic nations have announced additional weaponry and advanced air defense systems to arm Ukraine as NATO begins its two-day meeting in Brussels to discuss military support for the European nation against Russia's invasion.
Britain, Canada, France and the Netherlands each announced additional support for Ukraine on Wednesday as the first day of the two-day NATO ministerial meeting began and while Russia continued to unleash its widespread bombing across the European country, hitting civilian targets, including its capital, Kyiv.
At least seven people were killed Wednesday by Russian rockets in the eastern town of Avdiivka, which followed six people killed in Kyiv and at least 19 other killed in numerous strikes across Ukraine on Tuesday and Monday.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said ahead of the meeting that weaponry from democratic allies aided Ukraine in downing many missiles fired over those two days but more advanced defense systems were needed.
Ben Wallace, Britain's secretary of defense, said they will be heeding that call by pledging to Kyiv additional systems that are capable of intercepting Russian rockets.
"Russia's latest indiscriminate strikes on civilian areas in Ukraine warrant further support to those seeking to defend their nation," he said in a statement. "So today I have authorized the supply of Amraam anti-aircraft missiles to Ukraine.
"These weapons will help Ukraine defend its skies from attacks and strengthen their overall missile defense," he said.
Similarly, French President Emmanuel Macron told France 2 television that they will provide Ukraine with Caesar mobile artillery units to lead the counter-offensive as well as radars, unspecified military systems and missiles.
"We don't want a world war," Macron tweeted Wednesday. "We help Ukraine to resist on its soil, never to attack Russia. [Russian President] Vladimir Putin must end this war and respect the territorial integrity of Ukraine."
The Netherlands on Wednesday also announced additional advanced air defense missiles with a value of more than $14.5 million "in light of Russia's recent attacks in Ukraine," Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren said in a statement.
"These attacks reinforce the government's belief that they can only be answered with unwavering support for Ukraine and its people," she said. "I also emphasized in direct consultation with the Ukrainian minister of defense that the Netherlands, like our partners, will not be intimidated by Russia and will continue to support Ukraine."
In Brussels during a meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, which is a collection of some 50 countries that have pledged to aid Ukraine's battle with Russia, Canadian Defense Minister Anita Anand said Ottawa will provide Kyiv with nearly $34 million in new military assistance.
The package includes $11 million worth of 155mm artillery rounds, fuses and charge bags for M777 howitzer artillery guns, which Canada has previously donated to Ukraine.
An additional $11 million of specialized drone cameras and 400,000 pieces of winter clothing, including jackets, pants, boots, gloves and parkas, valued at nearly $11 million are also included in the package.
"Canada is resolutely committed to helping Ukraine defend itself against Russia's illegal and unjustifiable invasion," she said in a statement.
Following the Ukraine Defense Contact Group meeting, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin told reporters during a press conference that the resolve of the international community to support Ukraine has only increased by what he called "the deliberate cruelty of Russia's new barrage against Ukraine's cities."
"Those assaults on targets with no military purpose again reveal the malice of Putin's war of choice," he said. "But Russia's atrocities have further united the nations of goodwill that stand with Ukraine."
Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said at the end of the first day of the NATO ministerial that he believes "the results of this fruitful dialogue will support our soldiers at the front and protect peaceful civilians in our cities."
"We will definitely win!" he tweeted.
Stoltenberg told reporters that along with the contact group meeting on Wednesday, defense minsters were scheduled for a dinner where they were to discuss ramping up support for Ukraine with the top priority being air defense.
During the two-day meeting, the ministers will also discuss replenishing NATO weapon stockpiles, among other issues, he said, describing the meeting as routine and planned long in advance.