NATO agrees on long-term support plan for Ukraine

Ministers gathered over two days at NATO headquarters in Brussels for final high-level talks before an upcoming summit hosted by US President Joe Biden in Washington in July.


NATO defence ministers have ended talks in Brussels, during which they agreed on a plan to provide long-term security assistance and military training to Ukraine.

It comes after Hungary promised not to veto the scheme as long as it’s not forced to take part.

Ukraine’s Western allies are trying to bolster their military support as Russian troops launch attacks along the more than 1,000-kilometre front line, taking advantage of a lengthy delay in US military aid. European Union money was also held up by political infighting.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, who chaired the meeting, said that Ukraine’s beleaguered armed forces need longer-term predictability about the kinds of weapons, ammunition and funds they can expect to receive.

Stoltenberg declared that the plan is for NATO to continue to provide support to Ukraine: “Since Russia’s full scale invasion, allies have provided around €40 billion worth of military support each year. I have proposed that we sustain this level of support as a minimum for as long as it takes.”

Since Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022, Ukraine’s Western backers have routinely met as part of the Ukraine Defence Contact Group, run by the Pentagon, to drum up weapons and ammunition for Kyiv. A fresh meeting was held at NATO headquarters on Thursday.

While those meetings have resulted in significant battlefield support, they have been of an ad-hoc and unpredictable nature. Stoltenberg has spearheaded an effort to have NATO take up some of the slack.

The idea is for the 32-nation military alliance to coordinate the security assistance and training process, partly by using NATO’s command structure and drawing on funds from its common budget.

Stoltenberg said he hopes Biden and his counterparts will agree in Washington to maintain the funding level for military support they have provided Ukraine since Russia launched its full-fledged invasion in February 2022.

He estimates this at around €40 billion of equipment each year.


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