Defence ministers to talk arms for Ukraine

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Dozens of defence ministers from NATO and other parts of the world are expected to discuss weapon deliveries to Ukraine in Brussels, as Kyiv calls for a significant increase in arms to help hold off Russian troops in eastern Ukraine.

The battle for Sievierodonetsk - a city of barely more than 100,000 people before the war - is now the biggest fight in Ukraine as the conflict has shifted into a punishing war of attrition.

Ukraine needs 1000 howitzers, 500 tanks and 1000 drones among other heavy weapons, presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said on Monday.

Western countries have promised NATO-standard weapons, including advanced US rockets. But deploying them is taking time, and Ukraine will require consistent Western support to transition to new supplies and systems as stocks dwindle of their Soviet-era weapons and munitions.

The meeting on Wednesday on the sidelines of a NATO defence ministerial is being led by US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and the third time the group of nearly 50 countries are meeting to discuss and co-ordinate assistance to Ukraine.

The previous in-person meeting was at Ramstein Air Base in Germany in April.

US officials expect announcements on additional weapons to Ukrainian forces in the coming days.

The United States has committed about $US4.6 billion ($A6.7 billion) in security assistance to Ukraine since Russia's February 24 invasion, including artillery systems such as the howitzers and longer-range weapons like the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System.

Russia launched what it calls a "special operation" in Ukraine in February, saying it was needed to rid the country of dangerous nationalists and degrade Ukraine's military capabilities, aims the West denounced as a baseless pretext.

The Biden administration has said that it has received assurances from Kyiv that those longer-range weapons will not be used to attack Russian territory, fearing an escalation of the conflict.

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