NATO foreign ministers meeting in Brussels on Tuesday and Wednesday (4 and 5 April) are set to focus their attention on stepping up support to Ukraine on a long-term basis, according to NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.
NATO members will discuss how to support Ukraine following Russia’s invasion while considering the medium and long-term goals.
“Our support is for the long-haul, so I expect that ministers will agree to start work on developing a multi-year programme for Ukraine”, Stoltenberg told the media on Monday (3 April).
Current assistance to Ukraine aims to provide the country with immediate non-lethal military aid, such as drone jammers, training equipment, combat rations, fuel, boots, medical supplies, explosive ordnance disposal equipment, generators, and ambulances.
Some of the alliance’s members wish to “expand” the current package for Ukraine, both in the scope of what it is used for and its value.
An “intensification of the package is the appropriate means” to keep offering Ukraine “capacity-building in addition to current non-lethal support to increase interoperability with NATO,” one NATO diplomat said.
Stoltenberg proposed the current fund be €500 million a year for the next ten years, according to one source familiar with the plans.
So far, around €150 million has been committed to the fund agreed on at the Madrid Summit last June. NATO allies have individually been pledging additional contributions to the fund, such as Germany (€40 million) and the Netherlands (€75 million).
According to people familiar with the discussions, other announcements are expected in the following days.
There is still a €450 million financial gap to fill to pay for the projects already ongoing, two NATO officials said, without including the pledges expected during the ministerial meeting.
The future package to be reshaped at the July Vilnius Summit could support Ukraine in new ways, including capacity building in defence planning, training armed forces, or investing in the Ukrainian defence industry, according to information shared with EURACTIV by NATO sources.
One referenced the country’s drone industry, and Kyiv’s government is already working with 80 locally-based drone manufacturers, Ukraine’s Defence Minister Oleg Reznikov told Reuters last month.
Since membership in NATO and security guarantees seem a long way down the road, broadening the alliance’s military support to Ukraine via the package would offer a guarantee for investment into Kyiv’s defence sector.
They will also discuss the consequences of the war on their national defence budget and the new commitment towards the 2% GDP defence spending target.
“In July, I expect allies to agree to a more ambitious defence investment pledge, as 2% of GDP is a minimum to be invested in our defence”, Stoltenberg told reporters last month.
Source : Euractiv