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Patriot and aid worth €40 bln: First results of NATO summit for Ukraine

Patriot and aid worth €40 bln: First results of NATO summit for Ukraine Photo: US President Joe Biden made number of statements of support for Ukraine (Getty Images)

The 75th NATO summit in Washington, DC (USA) has kicked off and will continue until July 11. One of the focuses is supporting Ukraine, and partners have already made several announcements.

RBC-Ukraine presents the initial outcomes of the summit for Ukraine.


More Patriots on the way, but still not enough

Ukraine's top priority is strengthening its air defense against Russian attacks. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy hopes that Joe Biden and other NATO leaders can be "more powerful" than before.

"Although I am grateful to the president, the administration, the United States Congress for the package that was voted for. We expect that it (the package - ed.) will gradually come to the battlefield and strengthen our army," he told journalists.

Biden confirmed plans to deliver the Patriot system at the summit's opening. Overall, he said, Ukraine will receive five long-range air defense systems: one each from the USA, Germany, Romania, and the Netherlands (assembled jointly with partners) and one more system from Italy—in this case, the SAMP-T.

It is worth noting that the initiatives from the Netherlands, Romania, and Italy were already known, and Germany delivered the third Patriot battery. As for the additional system from the USA, until yesterday's announcement, there was only unconfirmed information.

"These five strategic air defense systems will help to protect Ukrainian cities, civilians, and soldiers, and we are coordinating closely with the Ukrainian government so that these systems can be utilized rapidly," added Biden.

Speaking at the Ronald Reagan Institute, President Zelenskyy thanked partners for the additional Patriots. However, he emphasized that the recent attack on Kyiv, which was considered relatively well-protected against missiles, showed that this is not enough.

According to him, the enemy uses various types of new weapons. Therefore, it is necessary to move forward and take serious steps to strengthen Ukraine with different types of air defense systems - "more than one."

Previously, he said that at least seven Patriot-type batteries are needed to deter Russia. Today, partners have guaranteed the delivery of at least five.

According to RBC-Ukraine, official Kyiv would like to secure a specific commitment - allies should deliver ten Patriot systems by the end of 2024.

Tactical air defense systems and billion-dollar initiative

In addition to strategic systems, Ukraine is expected to receive dozens of tactical air defense systems in the coming months. These include NASAMS surface-to-air missile systems, MIM-23 HAWK, IRIS-T (SLM and SLS), and Gepard self-propelled anti-aircraft guns.

The Ukrainian defense portal Defense Express believes the announcement most likely referred to the fulfillment of previously announced deliveries rather than new ones.

Additionally, Biden assured that the US has canceled planned deliveries of interceptor missiles to other countries and will redirect them to Ukraine over the next year. This involves hundreds of interceptors. He also noted that the support is being provided in partnership with NATO members and a coalition of over 50 countries.

"Our message to Moscow and the world is clear: Our support for Ukraine is strong and unwavering," he said, adding that Ukraine can and should stop Vladimir Putin.

A joint statement published on the White House website states that other Alliance members, including Canada, Norway, Spain, and the United Kingdom, will continue to play a crucial role in providing Ukraine with air defense systems.

The statement also mentions the Immediate Action Initiative on Air Defense, under which partners have pledged over $1 billion, and allies' efforts to support the development of a NATO-compatible integrated air and missile defense architecture.

New command in Germany as "insurance against Trump"

In the coming days, NATO will announce the establishment of a new military command in Germany and appoint a representative in Kyiv to deepen Ukraine's relations with the Alliance. This was stated by US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan.

According to him, the new military command will be created to train and equip Ukrainian forces. He also assured that NATO intends to provide long-term assistance to Ukraine in its fight against Russian occupiers.

"Putin cannot divide us. He cannot outlast us. He cannot weaken us. And Ukraine, not Russia, will prevail," Sullivan added.

Sources from RBC-Ukraine reported that NATO's presence in Ukraine and the creation of a new structure for coordinating assistance—the "NATO Security and Training Assistance for Ukraine (NSATU)" —are intended to deepen the interaction.

Earlier, plans were known to establish a new military command in Wiesbaden, Germany. This structure will coordinate training and security assistance to Ukraine. It will effectively take over the role currently performed by the Ramstein group led by the US. Transferring the coordination of assistance under NATO's umbrella is seen as insurance in case Donald Trump wins the presidential election in the fall of 2024.

However, President Zelenskyy mentioned that this is not about replacing Ramstein, but rather an additional tool in supporting Ukraine.

The White House statement notes that NSATU will coordinate the training and development of the Ukrainian Armed Forces on the path to full operational compatibility. An American three-star general will lead the efforts, and training will occur in several allied countries.

As for the senior NATO representative in Kyiv, they will be responsible for coordinating the Alliance's interaction with Ukrainian officials.

Commitments of €40 bln for 2025

The White House announced that allies intend to provide a minimum base funding of 40 billion euros over the next year. Washington will make contributions from funds already allocated by Congress in the April package of over 60 billion dollars.

As reported by Corriere della Sera, the US will cover half of the expenses, or about 20 billion euros, with the rest coming from Europe. Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni is expected to commit to a contribution of 1.7 billion euros in the final declaration, which signifies an increase in Italy's assistance to Ukraine by half a billion euros annually.

Additionally, other partners have announced financial commitments. For instance, Portugal will provide 220 million euros in aid this year and the same amount in 2025.

"This year alone, we estimate that we will reach a support volume of over 220 million euros, which will be repeated next year, all within the framework of the final settlement to be established at this summit," stated Prime Minister Luís Montenegro.

At a reception following the roundtable Women, Peace, and Security, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced 7 million dollars in assistance for Ukrainian women soldiers. According to him, the assistance will include over 10,000 sets of uniforms, footwear, and other equipment.

New Zealand announced a package worth nearly 10 million dollars. Prime Minister Christopher Luxon states that the assistance will include military and humanitarian components. It should be noted that New Zealand is not a NATO member but participates in the work of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group in the Ramstein format.

Irreversibility of membership or a "bridge": What will be in the final communiqué

The summit's final communiqué will be announced on Thursday, July 11. However, as CNN reports, the draft states that Ukraine's membership in NATO is irreversible.

This wording has sparked much controversy among the participating countries even before the summit began. Delegations are still agreeing on the final passages in the communiqué.

The message, it is reported, conveys that Ukraine is getting closer to NATO. However, this year, it will not receive an invitation to join the North Atlantic Alliance.

The text of the communiqué may change, but the wording about the irreversibility of Ukraine's NATO membership will send a significant signal to both Kyiv and Moscow. According to an American official, the White House supports it, provided that the final version also stipulates that Ukraine must continue to work on implementing democratic reforms.

Previously, many European partners emphasized the need for more decisive language regarding Ukraine's prospects, and officials from the US and Germany proposed using the concept of a "bridge" for Ukraine's NATO membership.

On the eve of the summit, French President Emmanuel Macron stated that the governments of the US and Germany "strongly oppose" inviting Ukraine to the Alliance. He recalled Kyiv's dissatisfaction with the absence of an invitation at the 2023 summit in Vilnius.

"The Ukrainians were quite annoyed when they concluded that the door was open, but not that much. And I think the scenario for the Washington summit is the same," he added.

What else is Ukraine working on

The Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba stated that at the summit in Washington, the Ukrainian side is working on obtaining permission to strike with American weapons from military airfields in Russia. According to him, it is necessary to "ruthlessly destroy" all military targets involved in missile strikes against Ukraine.

President Zelenskyy has already urged the US to allow strikes on Russian aviation on its territory. As an example, he cited Kharkiv and Washington's permission to destroy targets in the border zone of the Belgorod region, which helped stop the offensive and constant attacks on the city.

"This Russian advance has halted, and we are pushing the Russian army out of the areas near Kharkiv. We have also destroyed the launchers of Russian missiles that were hitting Kharkiv every day for over two years. And this provided Kharkiv with protection from missile strikes," he noted.

According to him, if the US lifts the restrictions on strikes on Russian airfields, it will protect other Ukrainian cities as well.

"Now we can protect our cities from Russian guided bombs if American leadership takes a step forward and allows us to destroy Russian military airports on their bases. This will also bring immediate results, and we are waiting for this step," he said, adding that assistance with long-range weapons will also allow pushing the Russians out of the south.

Against this background, new British Prime Minister Keir Starmer confirmed London's permission to use Storm Shadow aviation missiles to strike Russian territory.

Details on second day of the NATO summit program

According to the summit's program, events will begin at 15:15 with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg's address to the press. Half an hour later, the leaders of the participating countries will make statements.

The official part will start at 17:40 with Stoltenberg's speech at the opening of the NATO Public Forum. At 19:15, a welcoming ceremony will commence, including a group photo.

At 20:00, the North Atlantic Council, at the level of heads of state and government, is scheduled to meet. An hour later, heads of delegations from partner countries are expected to arrive. At 23:30, the Secretary-General will hold a press conference.

The second day of the summit's program will conclude with social dinners organized by US President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. These will start at 03:00 Kyiv time.

The final day, July 11, will be crucial for Ukraine. On Thursday, the NATO-Ukraine Council will meet with Alliance leaders who have concluded security agreements and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Several agreements with individual NATO members regarding the supply of other categories of weapons are expected. The commitment to provide €40 billion in military aid to Ukraine will also be signed.

Sources: statements from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, US President Joe Biden, leaders of other NATO countries, Ukrainian and Western officials, and articles from CNN and Corriere della Serra.