Thursday, July 11, 2024
Thursday, July 11, 2024
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NATO Pledges $43 Billion in Military Aid to Ukraine and Confirms Path to Membership

NATO leaders have promised to give Ukraine at least $43 billion in military aid over the next year to help it defend against Russia. They also confirmed that Ukraine is on an “irreversible path” to joining NATO.

At a summit in Washington, DC, NATO members announced various steps to strengthen Ukraine and Europe’s security. This includes the United States, Netherlands, and Denmark saying that the first NATO-provided F-16 fighter jets will be given to Ukrainian pilots by this summer. The US also plans to deploy longer-range missiles in Germany by 2026, to counter Russia’s growing threat to Europe. These powerful US weapons in Germany will be the most significant since the Cold War.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked NATO on social media for strengthening Ukraine’s air force, stating that the new fighter jets bring lasting peace closer by showing that terror must fail.

NATO has committed to most of what Zelenskyy has asked for. Besides the F-16s, they have promised Ukraine dozens of air defense systems. The US agreed to provide four Patriot missile systems, with other members helping to maintain them. However, NATO has not yet offered Ukraine full membership. The alliance said that Ukraine’s future is in NATO but joining will depend on when allies agree and certain conditions are met.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Ukraine will not join NATO immediately but must join after the war to prevent Russia from attacking again. Stoltenberg emphasized that NATO is helping to end the war as soon as possible, not prolong it.

The US and some other countries have resisted Ukraine’s immediate membership to avoid escalating the conflict with Russia, which could lead to a larger war. They also stressed that Ukraine needs to tackle corruption and other reforms.

The NATO statement also highlighted China’s role as a “decisive enabler” of Russia’s war effort in Ukraine, saying China poses challenges to Euro-Atlantic security. Stoltenberg noted that this was the first time NATO collectively labelled China as such, sending a clear message.

Stoltenberg defended NATO against criticism from potential future US leaders, without naming Donald Trump. He stated that the criticism is about NATO allies not investing enough in NATO, but this has changed. The number of allies meeting the target of spending at least 2% of their GDP on defense has increased from six to 23 since 2021.

Trump, on Fox News Radio, said he does not want the US to leave NATO but wants other countries to pay their share. President Biden, hosting NATO’s North Atlantic Council, emphasized the importance of NATO, noting increased military spending and doubling the number of battle groups on NATO’s eastern flank.

Biden reassured that NATO can and will defend its territory together. The summit in Washington included leaders from 32 NATO countries, plus partners from Australia, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, and Ukraine. This might be one of Biden’s last international appearances before the US election.

NATO leaders are concerned about Biden’s health and political challenges, but the promises of aid are crucial for Ukraine’s short-term needs. Former US official PJ Crowley said Ukraine must be sustained and rebuilt, and its sovereignty protected. He noted that Trump might prefer negotiations for the best deal possible, but strengthening Ukraine before negotiations is essential.

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