NATO creates $100 billion fund for Ukraine despite US concerns

Open Editor's Digest for free

NATO is set to begin planning a $100 billion military aid program for Ukraine, according to the alliance's chief, despite the US being urged to be cautious about aspects of the proposal aimed at garnering “Trump-resistant” Western support.

Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General, has backed a sweeping reform that would see the alliance oversee a five-year support plan for Ukraine and take over management of the Ramstein Group, which the United States created to coordinate military supplies to Kiev from around the world. 50 Western countries

The proposal comes as Western capitals scramble to find long-term structures to support Ukraine amid concerns that Russia's superior weapons and manpower supplies are increasing pressure on Kiev's front-line defences.

“Today we have not made any final decisions about the format we will put in place, but we agreed to start planning,” Stoltenberg told reporters after a day of talks with NATO foreign ministers.

A person familiar with the Biden administration's thinking said the United States still wants more information about Stoltenberg's proposal and will discuss its details in additional meetings.

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken used his interventions during the Brussels talks to express some concerns about the $100 billion fund. But he said he was not explicitly opposed to this, adding that the United States wanted to discuss the matter further.

The United States, along with Germany, has long expressed concerns about escalation that could drag NATO into the conflict, and has resisted attempts to give the alliance a more direct role in supporting Kiev.

See also  New tanks and artillery boost Ukraine's hopes of defeating Russia

But German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said on Wednesday in response to a question about the $100 billion proposal: “For us, it is essential that we mold the ad hoc structures into reliable, long-term structures.”

Germany and the United States have made “significant movement in recent months,” according to one NATO official who attended the discussions.

Reception to Stoltenberg's proposal was “mixed,” according to one of the people in the room.

Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Belgium were among the countries that expressed their support for this idea. Meanwhile, the Hungarian Foreign Minister said Budapest opposes “proposals that could bring the alliance closer to war or turn it from a defensive alliance into an offensive alliance.”

The United States said it plans to remain in control of the Ramstein Military Coordination Group, officially known as the Ukrainian Defense Contact Group. John Kirby, spokesman for the US National Security Council, said the meeting was “critical in bringing together 50-odd countries to contribute to Ukraine’s security assistance needs.”

He said that the Biden administration sees the efforts made to coordinate allies regarding Ukraine as an important example of America's position in the world.

“It is bigger than NATO, and bigger than the alliance,” Kirby said, noting that the contact group includes members of NATO in addition to the countries of the Indo-Pacific and others. “What brought them together is American leadership, and what keeps them together is American leadership.”

Speaking after the ministerial discussions, Spanish Foreign Minister José Manuel Albarez said he expressed concern that the $100 billion could duplicate other financial efforts – including those of the European Union.

See also  More than 100 people were injured in a train collision in Beijing as heavy snow fell on the Chinese capital

He added that “other major countries” also raised this issue in the talks. “What we must avoid is duplication, double accountability, counting money twice, or buying or doing the same things,” he added. “The mood in the room was that we all want to make sure that Ukraine has what it needs in terms of volume and in terms of time.”

Additional reporting by Alice Hancock in Brussels

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *