NATO is finalizing an agreement that will give the alliance greater control over military aid to Ukraine

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Ukrainian soldiers from the 92nd Assault Brigade fire on a BM-21 “Grad” multiple rocket launcher towards Russian positions, in the Kharkiv region, on May 15, 2024, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.



CNN

NATO defense ministers are expected to finalize an agreement on Friday that will give the alliance greater control over security aid and training Ukrainian armyIt is an effort that some officials say is aimed at giving Europe greater responsibility for aid amid uncertainty over the outcome of the US presidential election this fall.

The possibility that the former President Donald TrumpNATO, which has long been skeptical of U.S. military support for NATO and Europe, said its election victory is “a big part” of the reason NATO is moving ahead with the integration plan, said one official familiar with the discussions. This is also a way to give Europe more responsibility regarding training and equipping Ukraine, the official added, as the extent of the US commitment to supporting Ukraine in the fight against Russia after the elections remains unclear.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced the intention at a press conference on Thursday, saying NATO provides “more than 99% of total military support to Ukraine… so it makes sense for NATO to take on a greater role in these efforts.”

“This will put our support on a more stable footing, provide predictability for Kiev, and meet immediate and long-term needs,” Stoltenberg said.

A US defense official and a European diplomat added that the effort would be based in Wiesbaden, Germany and would fall under NATO command, led by a three-star general reporting to Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General Chris Cavoli, who is also the head of NATO forces. US European Leadership.

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Earlier Thursday, Stoltenberg said the “whole idea” of the new framework was to “minimize the risk of gaps and delays” — especially after a months-long US delay in providing additional security aid had real negative impacts on Ukraine’s ability to fight Russia.

“The whole idea is to reduce the risk of gaps and delays as we saw earlier this year, because the gaps in delays in providing military support from the United States and also from many European allies, made a difference on the battlefield.” He said. “This is one of the reasons why the Russians are now able to push and occupy more territory in Ukraine.”

Stoltenberg also said Thursday that he proposed that NATO allies provide Ukraine at least 40 billion euros a year “for as long as it takes” — a figure he said the allies have already provided roughly annually since the Russian invasion in February 2022. Ukraine needs the annual money,” he added. To ensure that they have the necessary resources to repel Russian aggression against their country.”

CNN Previously mentioned and options regarding ensuring long-term support for Ukraine, which one senior European diplomat at the time described as “future-proof.”

A senior US Defense Department official told reporters on Thursday that it was important to ensure that capabilities and forces assisting Ukraine were done “with NATO interoperability and integration in mind.”

“Right now, it’s very ad hoc,” the official said. “One country raises its hand and says: ‘I’m going to do an artillery coalition’, and another country says: ‘I’m going to do a drone coalition’ – and he actually sits down and plots these things out and makes sure that that force that’s being built up will make sense to deter and defend against what Ukraine needs to deter And to defend against it? And who thinks about the interoperability of this force with Polish forces, for example?

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Earlier this week, the plan to focus NATO’s military support for Ukraine overcame a major hurdle when Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said that although Hungary would not participate in the plan, it would not veto it.

“The prime minister assured me that Hungary will not oppose these efforts, which will enable other allies to move forward, and emphasized that Hungary will continue to fully fulfill its NATO commitments,” Stoltenberg said on Wednesday.

Meetings of the Ukrainian Defense Contact Group and NATO Defense Ministers are being held in Brussels, coinciding with the G7 summit in Italy, where support for Ukraine remains a key issue. G7 leaders agreed to lend Ukraine money backed by profits from frozen Russian investments.

CNN Previously mentioned The total loan amount is approximately $50 billion, and is expected to be delivered by the end of 2024 – before a possible change in US administrations.

The United States and Ukraine as well Expected signature A long-term security agreement at the G7 summit, after months of negotiations, but could ultimately be undone by the new administration.

Correction: This story has been corrected to correctly attribute that the new NATO effort will be overseen by a three-star general and will be headquartered in Germany.

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