ua en ru

Unwavering support: Key discussions and outcomes of Ukraine-NATO talks in Brussels

Unwavering support: Key discussions and outcomes of Ukraine-NATO talks in Brussels Photo: Dmytro Kuleba and Jens Stoltenberg before the Ukraine-NATO Council meeting (

The two-day meeting of the foreign ministers of NATO member states has come to an end. At the meeting, partners reaffirmed their support for Ukraine and provided recommendations on its accession to the Alliance.

RBC-Ukraine highlights the main outcomes and statements.

While preparing the story, the following sources were used: statements of NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba, as well as heads of foreign policy departments of the United States and European countries.

The ministers' meetings took place on November 28-29 at NATO headquarters in Brussels. Today, within its framework, a meeting of the Ukraine-NATO Council was held. Statements about Ukraine and for Ukraine were made throughout the entire two-day session.

Focus on supporting Ukraine

At a press briefing before the meeting with the ministers, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg stated that Ukraine would be one of the main topics. According to him, the fighting is still intense, and Ukrainian cities have faced a new wave of attacks on infrastructure. Therefore, it is crucial for NATO member countries to continue supporting Ukraine.

In response to RBC-Ukraine's question about whether allies expect a breakthrough on the front and what needs to be done for that, Stoltenberg abstained from making predictions. He also noted that there were concerns in 2022 about how long the country could resist Russian aggression. However, about half of the occupied territories have been liberated since then.

"This demonstrates the ability and capabilities of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. NATO allies have provided significant military support... We need to continue supporting Ukraine; the stronger it is on the battlefield, the stronger it will be at the negotiating table. If we want a peaceful solution that guarantees Ukraine's independence, the best way to achieve this is to continue providing military support to Ukraine, and that's what allies intend to do," Stoltenberg assured.

Opening the ministerial meeting, the Secretary-General identified the main task as making support long-term and welcomed Germany and the Netherlands' statement of allocating an additional 10 billion euros for military aid to Ukraine. According to him, the work of partners within the Ramstein format brings many advantages and aligns with NATO's security interests. Jens Stoltenberg specifically stressed that Vladimir Putin's victory would be a tragedy for Ukrainians, a threat to the West, and a signal to China about the possibility of a forceful change in the world order.

Latvia's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Krišjānis Kariņš, supported his rhetoric. He stated the need to restrain Russia on all fronts, advocated for supplying conventional weapons, air defense systems to Ukraine, and assistance in cybersecurity and countering disinformation.

Earlier, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Valerii Zaluzhnyi, published an article in The Economist, in which he discussed that technological breakthroughs could secure victory over Russia. Lithuanian Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis is confident that NATO countries with the necessary weaponry could provide this breakthrough, but sending it anywhere but Ukraine.

"We can do it, and it could provide the technological breakthrough Zaluzhnyi is asking for. Then, he could adapt his strategy. If we open our supplies for him, he can do anything," he added.

Military support for Ukraine was also the focus of some bilateral meetings. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken discussed this issue with the Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Espen Barth Eide.

Diplomatic front: guarantees, sanctions, and finding common ground

Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dmytro Kuleba, dedicated the first day in Brussels to negotiations with European colleagues. After a meeting with the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, it became known that security guarantees would be presented next week.

As the official noted, the European Council approved a framework document. Under Secretary for Security and Defense will present it in Kyiv. If the Ukrainian side approves, agreements on long-term guarantees will be presented to EU leaders by the end of the year. He did not disclose details but emphasized that the guarantees would cover the military sector and broader aspects such as finance, trade, humanitarian support, etc.

There are four more important decisions in action, clarifies Kuleba. These include the 12th package of sanctions against Russia, the transfer of frozen assets, the launch of the Ukraine Facility fund with 50 million euros, and the European Council's verdict on starting Ukraine's EU accession negotiations. Besides, the making of a pan-European defense industry area was discussed.

Afterward, Kuleba met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Slovakia, Ivan Korčok, known for his anti-Ukraine sentiments. According to Kuleba, the meeting was constructive, and the Slovak colleague confirmed participation in the Peace Formula, as well as readiness to support the start of negotiations on Ukraine's accession to the European Union. Moreover, Korčok assured that the repair center in Slovakia would continue its operations, and the government would not obstruct cooperation with military companies. With the rise of pro-Russian politician Robert Fico, Slovakia announced the ending of weapon deliveries from its reserves.

The Ukrainian minister also reported negotiations about consensus in the EU Council and Hungary's position on Ukraine's integration.

"Hungary's position is not simple, I'll be straightforward. The good news is that there is a common understanding in the EU that Ukraine deserves the start of negotiations, deserves it with reforms, fighting for itself, and embracing EU values," he notes, adding that negotiations with Hungary are ongoing, along with other European partners.

Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó, in turn, reiterated that Budapest would not supply weapons since "the more weapons are delivered, the longer the war will last."

As for sanctions against Russia, Ukraine insists on including restrictions on companies supplying components for drones in the 12th package.

Ukraine-NATO Council: partners provided recommendations

Before the Ukraine-NATO Council meeting, Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg highlighted the importance of actual support, not just words. Commenting on his statement, Dmytro Kuleba notes that the Ukrainian army is one of the most powerful in Europe.

"To a large extent, we become de facto NATO's army because of our capabilities and management principles," he added.

He also assures that Ukrainians have no intention of surrendering in the face of Russian aggression, and the strategic goal remains the restoration of territorial integrity to the borders of 1991 through the efforts of its military. It is a fundamental position that Kyiv will not request the deployment of Western troops in Ukraine.

German colleague Annalena Baerbock also made several statements. According to her, global attention to the war in Ukraine has decreased, which could have fatal consequences. She announced that Berlin had already provided Patriot air defense systems and generators, urging other allies to follow suit and ensure a reliable "winter shield." She also declared additional funding for the trust fund, exceeding 11 million euros.

At the Ukraine-NATO Council, recommendations for the Ukrainian side were discussed, as their implementation will bring the country one step closer to NATO membership.

"We provided recommendations on initial reforms, including the fight against corruption and support for human rights. Ukraine is now much closer to NATO than ever," emphasized Stoltenberg.

He also pointed out necessary changes in Ukrainian legislation, security, and the modernization of intelligence structures. Additionally, NATO countries approved an ambitious assistance program for the next year.

"It includes energy security, innovation, and cooperation. We are transforming the comprehensive NATO aid package into a multi-year aid program. Assisting Ukraine in transitioning from Soviet to NATO standards to make its forces fully compatible with ours," added the Secretary-General.

The published statement also mentions the approval of the Ukraine-NATO Council structure. Partners welcome Ukraine's adapted Annual National Program for 2024 and expect its implementation. Foreign ministers will conduct regular assessments, and the Alliance will support Ukraine in implementing reforms on the path to its future NATO membership.

Ukraine is at its place, support will be increased: key outcomes

At the end of the second day of ministerial meetings, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed a positive assessment. According to him, it became evident in a critical moment that the U.S. was not alone in supporting Ukraine. He emphasized Kyiv's determination to complete reforms on the path to NATO and the European Union.

"There were some issues that the Alliance discussed with Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba. This was the first meeting of foreign ministers in the new Ukraine-NATO Council, and Ukraine is at its place at the NATO table," he stated.

He also responded to the question of whether Western allies allegedly have no intention of providing weapons for a new large-scale counteroffensive to push Ukraine into negotiations. It has no connection to reality; Ukraine has been supported from the first days, and it will receive everything necessary to reclaim the occupied territories, maintaining the commitment.

Doubts about Western support were dispelled by Dmytro Kuleba as well. According to him, there is no fatigue from the Russia-Ukraine war in the West.

"We all hear similar questions, but today, behind closed doors, I heard, and everyone heard, and they responded with a categorical 'no' to any hints of fatigue from the war. And an equally categorical 'yes' to continuing and increasing support for Ukraine," he revealed, adding that colleagues basically confirmed more support than expected.

Co-operation between the EU and NATO is necessary, particularly by developing the defense industry complex of many countries as a single mechanism, the minister believes. Today, for the first time, he heard partners talk not only about supporting defense companies but also about the need to create a system capable of meeting the needs of the war against Russia.

"As David Cameron (UK Foreign Secretary) said, commenting on defense industry issues, after this meeting, we need to turn political will into concrete actions. And today, almost every minister spoke about it," Kuleba concluded.


At the Ukraine-NATO Council meeting, the Ukrainian delegation presented the Annual National Program. Basically, it is a list of reforms that brings closer the accession to the Alliance. The issue lies in the fact that even the implementation of all reforms does not automatically guarantee NATO membership. The final decision still depends on the agreement of the current members.

RBC-Ukraine talked to some participants at the meeting. The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Latvia, Edgars Rinkēvičs, assured that absolutely all ministers were united in supporting Ukraine, including the head of the Slovak Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Support will be there, and everything will be fine. According to other statements, the meeting's outcomes turned out to be better than expected as there were specific plans for the transformation of the European defense complex to perform faster and supply significantly larger volumes of arms to Ukraine.

There were also questions about the next NATO summit, scheduled to take place in Washington in 2024. Jens Stoltenberg gave a predictable response: there is still a lot of time until the summit, and it's too early to say anything. It is unlikely that the situation with the Russia-Ukraine war will fundamentally change before this summit, meaning that the issues of Vilnius-2023, when the U.S. and Germany were hesitant to extend an official invitation to the Alliance, remain with Ukraine. Consequently, a global breakthrough in Washington is also questionable. It's clear that Ukraine's path to NATO will be lengthy, but there is no alternative.