NATO agrees on long-term aid to Kyiv, €100 billion fund mentioned

by Andrew Gray and John Irish

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – NATO members agreed on Wednesday to prepare a long-term military aid package for Ukraine, without however committing to setting up a fund of 100 billion euros over five years, as proposed by the Secretary General of the Alliance, some having noted the difficulty of such a project.

Jens Stoltenberg’s proposal, formulated ahead of the meeting in Brussels of foreign ministers from NATO member countries, also plans to give the Alliance a more direct role in coordinating deliveries of arms and munitions. and equipment to Kyiv, whose war against Russia has entered its third year.

As part of this project, NATO would take over part of the prerogatives of an ad hoc coalition led by the United States – the Contact Group on the Defense of Ukraine, known as the “Ramstein format”, in reference to the American military base in Germany where discussions took place. This approach aims to guard against a possible change in Washington’s position in the event of Donald Trump’s return to the White House, diplomats said.

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“We need to review the dynamics of our support,” Jens Stoltenberg told the press. “We must guarantee reliable and predictable security assistance to Ukraine in the long term (…). Promises over several years, rather than short-term offers.”

He indicated that he aimed for a decision to be ratified at the next NATO summit, scheduled for July 9 to 11, in Washington. Any decision requires consensus among the 32 members of the Alliance, joined earlier this year by Sweden.

While Ukraine also wants to join the Alliance, its members say they are in favor of this idea but only once the war with Russia is over.

Moscow has criticized NATO, which celebrates its 75th anniversary this week, of having returned to a Cold War state of mind.


So far, since the start of the offensive launched by Russia in Ukraine on February 24, 2022, the aid provided by NATO to Kyiv has been non-lethal, due to fears that a more direct role would fuel an escalation. tensions with Moscow. Bilaterally, Alliance members have supplied billions of dollars of arms to Ukraine.

Initial reactions to the measures mentioned by Jens Stoltenberg suggest that a decision would require work.

Hungary, whose Prime Minister Viktor Orban is close to the Kremlin, “will not support any NATO proposal which could bring the Alliance closer to war or tip it from a defensive to an offensive coalition”, affirmed during the meeting the Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Peter Szijjarto, according to comments reported on the social network

Jens Stoltenberg said having a more robust NATO framework would not change the defensive nature of the Alliance. He expressed confidence that Hungary’s concerns could be allayed in the coming weeks.

José Manuel Albares, head of Spanish diplomacy, told journalists that he and representatives had warned against a potential duplication of bilateral efforts, the European Union and NATO.

“We have to see how it would work country by country, what percentage,” declared Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani, emphasizing the importance of details for such a project.

“We need a legal basis. The proposal is interesting but, before proposing to Ukraine a precise amount, it is better to evaluate, study, and understand what can be done, when, how, by whom”, he added.

The head of German diplomacy, Annalena Baerbock, described the project as “fair and important”. His Latvian counterpart, Krisjanis Karins, also in favor of this proposal, raised the idea that the contribution of each country be calculated according to their gross domestic product (GDP).

(Reporting Andrew Gray and John Irish, with contributions from Benoit Van Overstraeten, Geert De Clercq and Inti Landauro; French version Camille Raynaud, Mathias de Rozario and Jean Terzian, edited by Blandine Hénault and Nicolas Delame)

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