NATO chief urges swift provision of weapons to Ukraine

NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, emphasized the immediate need for Western allies to supply Ukraine with sufficient weaponry to support its ongoing war effort against Russia. While discussions on Ukraine’s potential membership in the alliance continue, Stoltenberg highlighted the urgency of aiding Ukraine’s defense during a joint press conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy at the NATO summit in Vilnius.

Stoltenberg expressed that Ukraine’s proximity to NATO has never been closer, and underscored the significant risk posed by a military victory for Russian President Vladimir Putin in the war. He stated, “A full-fledged war is taking place in Europe, and there are no risk-free options for NATO allies. The greatest risk lies in President Putin’s triumph because it would signify that military force, violation of international law, and invasion of neighboring countries lead to desired outcomes. This is precisely why it is crucial for NATO’s allies to support Ukraine.”

Although President Zelenskiy expressed disappointment regarding the absence of a specific timetable for NATO membership, he regarded the summit’s outcomes positively and welcomed the announcements of new military assistance from allied nations. Nonetheless, Zelenskiy advocated for further support and indicated his intention to discuss Ukraine’s requirement for long-range weapons in a meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden during the summit.

Ukraine has been striving for prompt NATO membership while confronting a Russian invasion that commenced in February 2022, resulting in tens of thousands of casualties and the displacement of millions. Zelenskiy criticized NATO’s refusal to extend an invitation or specify a timeline for Ukraine’s entry into the alliance as “absurd.” However, the United States, Britain, and other global allies were preparing to disclose new security assurances for Ukraine, aiming to safeguard the nation from future attacks as Kyiv progresses toward NATO membership.

In practice, these assurances would materialize as bilateral agreements with Kyiv encompassing long-term military and financial aid to sustain Ukraine’s armed forces and economy. The Group of Seven (G7) consists of the United States, Germany, Japan, France, Canada, Italy, and Britain.

Zelenskiy engaged in bilateral meetings with the United States, Canada, Germany, Britain, Japan, and the Netherlands on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Vilnius to secure additional arms for Ukraine’s counteroffensive. On Twitter, he affirmed, “More weapons for our warriors, more protection for all of Ukraine! We will acquire new crucial defense tools for Ukraine.”

Furthermore, a new NATO-Ukraine Council was scheduled to convene on Wednesday, aiming to strengthen cooperation between Kyiv and the 31-nation alliance.