By Sabine Siebold
BRUSSELS (Reuters) -Ukraine urgently needs more military aid and Western support will not falter, the United States and the NATO military alliance pledged on Tuesday, in the face of a new Russian offensive around the one-year anniversary of the war.
Western defence chiefs were meeting in Brussels to discuss both new arms provisions to Kyiv, which is pleading for greater firepower, and maintenance of existing supplies including shells whose production can hardly keep pace with the war.
"Ukraine has urgent requirements to help it meet this crucial moment in the course of the war," U.S. Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin said at a meeting of the so-called Ramstein group of allies of Ukraine.
"The Kremlin is still betting it can wait us out but one year on we are as united as ever. That shared resolve will help sustain Ukraine's momentum in the crucial weeks ahead."
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg gave the same message about Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion.
"We see no signs that President Putin is preparing for peace. What we see is the opposite, he is preparing for more war, for new offensives and new attacks," he told reporters.
"This has become a grinding war of attrition, and therefore it's also a battle of logistics ... When it comes to artillery, we need ammunition, we need spare parts, we need maintenance, we need all the logistics to ensure that we are able to sustain these weapons systems."
NATO defence ministers were to talk after the Ramstein group meeting.
The alliance plans to increase targets for stockpiling ammunition as Kyiv is burning through shells much faster than Western countries can produce them, leaving stocks badly depleted.
Germany announced it has signed contracts with arms maker Rheinmetall to restart production of ammunition for the Gepard anti-aircraft guns it has delivered to Kyiv.
It had been trying for months to find new munitions for the guns, which its own military decommissioned in 2010.
NATO defence ministers were also to discuss adapting a target for members to spend 2% of gross domestic product (GDP) on defence. Some nations see this as too low, given the Ukraine war, while others such as Germany are still far below the 2%.
(Reporting by Reporting by Sabine Siebold, Bart Meijer, Benoit Van Overstraeten and Andrew Gray;Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Andrew Cawthorne)