The foundation of security for Ukraine on its way to NATO was set – the main outcomes of the NATO summit
The NATO Summit in Vilnius took place on July 11-12, with Ukraine among the main points on the agenda. Several decisions were announced concerning the country’s path to NATO membership, military assistance, and security guarantees.
The summit results “are good, but they would be perfect if there was an invitation [to the alliance]” stated President Volodymyr Zelenskyy at a joint press conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
Security guarantees. The G7 countries agreed on a “Joint Declaration of Support for Ukraine.” The Declaration is a framework document that provides for the further conclusion of bilateral security agreements between Ukraine and individual guarantor countries.
Among the security guarantees for Ukraine mentioned in this statement are the supply of weapons, support for Ukraine’s defense industrial base, and cooperation in the fields of intelligence and cyber defense. In addition, the guarantor countries will provide assistance to the Ukrainian economy and energy sector, and support in holding Russia accountable.
“The key thesis of the declaration is the confirmation of the fact that Ukraine’s security is an integral part of Euro-Atlantic security. This thesis is supported by mentioning Ukraine’s future membership in NATO,” stated Andrii Yermak, Head of the Presidential Office.
Military assistance. During the summit, several NATO member countries announced new military aid packages to Ukraine. In particular, Germany has allocated a new military aid package worth €700 million to Ukraine. It will include Patriot air defense systems, Leopard tanks, and Marder infantry fighting vehicles.
France will provide long-range SCALP missiles and engineering equipment for demining. Australia will donate about 30 Bushmaster armored personnel carriers. Norway will transfer to Ukraine two NASAMS systems and a thousand Black Hornet UAVs. At the same time, the United Kingdom will provide a support package of $65 million for equipment repairs and the establishment of a military rehabilitation center.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg talked about the multi-year assistance program for Ukraine. “[The program] will help you transition from Soviet era to NATO equipment and standards. And will make Ukraine’s forces fully interoperable within NATO,” stated Stoltenberg.
An aviation coalition was also agreed upon on the summit’s sidelines, with 11 countries committing to begin training Ukrainian pilots on F16 fighter jets by the end of summer. “This will then enable a later decision also to provide F-16s. So training starts as soon as possible and based on that, decisions will be made on providing fighter jets,” said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg during a joint press conference with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. The NATO Secretary General noted that the training is expected to begin in August.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, Dmytro Kuleba, added that simultaneously with the pilot training, preparations will be made for the necessary legal decisions required for the transfer of F-16 aircraft, as well as for the required infrastructure in Ukraine.
“I believe that if by the end of the first quarter of next year, the first F-16s will be flying in Ukrainian airspace, piloted by Ukrainian pilots, then it will be according to the schedule,” said Kuleba.
NATO-Ukraine Council. At the NATO summit, the establishment of the NATO-Ukraine Council, a new body for cooperation between Ukraine and the Alliance, was announced. The first meeting was held on the second day of the summit, July 12, and was chaired by Volodymyr Zelenskyy. The new format opens up more opportunities for practical cooperation, while Ukraine and NATO member states will meet on an equal footing from now on. It is possible that subcommittees will be set up to deal with specific issues, such as cybersecurity or interoperability.
“We insisted that in the rules and procedures of the Ukraine-NATO Council, it should be clearly stated that this is a tool for Ukraine’s membership approximation,” explained the importance of this format Dmytro Kuleba, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine.
Earlier, the Ukrainian Foreign Minister also welcomed the decision of the NATO member states to remove the Membership Action Plan for Ukraine. According to Kuleba, this decision will shorten the country’s path to accession to the Alliance.
Although the summit’s final communiqué did not include an invitation to membership, assurances were given verbally to the Ukrainian delegation that Ukraine will be in NATO. “I hope we finally have put to bed the notion about whether or not Ukraine is welcome in NATO. It’s going to happen. We’re moving – you’re all moving in the right direction,” stated US President Joe Biden.
At the press conference following the summit’s results, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked Ukraine’s allies for the new security opportunities and stressed that “the Ukrainian delegation is returning with a significant security victory for the army, the country, our people and children”.