NATO Leaders Aim to Finalize “Security Guarantees” for Ukraine Before the Summit
A group of NATO member states are engaged in emergency discussions to conclude work on a declaration concerning security guarantees for Ukraine ahead of the upcoming NATO summit in Lithuania on 11-12 July, as reported by Politico.
The United States, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany have been deliberating this matter with Kyiv for several weeks and have also reached out to other NATO allies, the EU, and the G7.
The main concept revolves around establishing a "security umbrella" for countries willing to provide continuous military assistance to Ukraine, even if the specifics may vary depending on each country.
These efforts are part of broader negotiations within NATO and among various groups of countries regarding how Western allies should demonstrate long-term support for Ukraine.
The major alliance members are working on determining the intermediate security commitments they can provide to Ukraine at this time.
However, this idea does not enjoy unanimous agreement as Eastern flank NATO countries insist on Ukraine having an expedited path to membership, despite the ongoing hostilities.
Officials in Berlin, Paris, London, and Brussels, speaking anonymously, have stated that Western states aim to present their proposed format at the NATO summit.
"The discussion is ongoing, and it is progressing quite well, even very well, and we genuinely hope to conclude it by the end of the summit," said a French official during a press briefing.
A high-ranking NATO diplomat concurred, informing journalists during a separate briefing that "intense last-minute negotiations" are currently underway to determine "how it should be shaped."
According to another NATO diplomat familiar with the plans, US President Joe Biden will meet with UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in London on Monday, where their teams will attempt to coordinate the remaining details.
Ultimately, the initiative may result in promises to continue providing a significant portion of the assistance that allies already offer, including weaponry, equipment, training, funding, and intelligence.
However, the intention is to offer a "more enduring signal of unity" for Ukraine, especially considering that Kyiv is unlikely to receive a firm promise of NATO membership that it desires at the summit.
"In essence, this is a guarantee for Ukraine that we will continue to equip its armed forces, finance them, provide consultation and training to enable them to possess a deterrent force against any future aggression," said a high-ranking NATO diplomat.
However, many details of this support will be determined at a later stage. The diplomat noted that each interested country will need to establish bilateral agreements with Ukraine regarding "the nature of their commitments, which can include anything from air defense to tanks and whatever else."
Last week, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz issued a "call to all countries willing to support Ukraine," stating that they must "make decisions themselves that will allow them to continue providing this support for one, two, three, and, if necessary, more years, as we do not know how long the military conflict will persist."
Separately from the declaration on security guarantees being finalized by Western states, NATO is also developing new avenues of assistance for the Ukrainian military in the coming years.
As The Gaze reported. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced on Friday that plans for modernizing the Ukrainian defense system will be agreed upon at the NATO summit. According to him, the plan will include a "multi-year assistance program to ensure complete operational compatibility between the Ukrainian armed forces and NATO."
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba emphasized that Ukraine expects to receive a "clear timetable for accession" after the summit. Kuleba highlighted that Russia's invasion of Ukraine has undermined the security order in Europe that was established after World War II. Therefore, the stakes are high not only for Ukraine but also for the EU.
Additionally, President Volodymyr Zelensky stated that Ukraine requires clear security assurances from the West. In his traditional address, he hinted at significant decisions regarding Ukraine's security at the Vilnius NATO summit.