NATO summit seeks to increase unity and support for Ukraine

Russia launched its biggest missile strike in months against Ukraine on Monday, putting the war back on top of the NATO summit agenda. The alliance will now try to boost support for Kyiv firmly. 

From Tuesday to Thursday, the heads of state and government of the 32 NATO member states will meet in Washington for their annual summit. The three-day summit, marking the alliance’s 75th anniversary, was supposed to display unity. But with Russia having killed at least 20 people in a new missile attack that hit several Ukrainian cities on Monday, the talks are more likely to lead to a series of headaches. 

Nearly all NATO members have indeed already voiced their support for Kyiv, but they have been struggling to find the means to actually do more for Ukraine. The delivery of helmets and F16s will not be enough to help the country win the war. A new, more substantial package of aid is needed.

There are signs that it is going in the right direction. NATO already agreed last week to continue supplying Ukraine with €40 billion worth of military aid for a year and said it would prioritise the delivery of equipment, such as air defence systems and ammunition. More bilateral security agreements and more in-depth military cooperation with the country are also in the making. 

The talks on Ukraine joining the alliance, however, will remain difficult. At the same time, pressure is growing. As Joe Biden struggles to keep his election campaign together, a return of Donald Trump to the White House is not unthinkable. The unpredictability of what he might do and how quickly in office he might do it, is leaving people on edge. There is also the growth of the far right in France and the United Kingdom, which may diminish London and Paris’ influence in NATO. And Viktor Orban, Hungary’s Prime Minister, is raising alarm bells as he is visiting Russia, Turkey and China. 

NATO may well turn the tide in the war between Russia and Ukraine on its 75th anniversary. But it will have to move quickly and, above all, find unity. 


NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg © BELGA PHOTO NICOLAS MAETERLINCK


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