Zelensky Attends NATO Summit, Seeking Support and Membership
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced on Tuesday that Ukrainian President Zelensky would attend the NATO summit and emphasized that he was welcome at the meeting. This move signifies a significant step in strengthening NATO-Ukraine relations.
During the summit, NATO plans to establish a new NATO-Ukraine Council, granting Ukraine an elevated position that allows for direct participation in broader discussions on NATO security. This council also enables Ukraine to consult with allies on its security concerns.
President Zelensky’s participation in the summit serves two main objectives. Firstly, he aims to secure additional military support from NATO. Secondly, he seeks progress on Ukraine’s accession to NATO. Prior to the summit, Zelensky exerted pressure on NATO to expedite the country’s membership in the alliance. However, the United States and other major NATO members, led by President Joe Biden, contend that it is not suitable to proceed during times of ongoing conflict.
Despite this, NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg expressed confidence that the summit would convey a positive and strong message regarding Ukraine’s path to NATO membership. Stoltenberg proposed a plan that, when the right time comes, would facilitate Ukraine’s quicker integration into NATO by simplifying the membership process.
New Aid Pledged by Various Countries
The United States took the lead in announcing an $800 million aid package that includes controversial cluster munitions for Ukraine. Secretary of State Antony Blinken assured US media that Ukraine would receive significant “political and practical” support from NATO allies at the summit. Norway also pledged substantial military aid, committing $960 million in 2023.
Notably, Norway plans to provide Ukraine with over $7.2 billion in civil and military aid over five years, along with additional financing of $144,000 to support reforms in the country. Furthermore, Norway vowed to increase defense spending to a minimum of 2 percent of its gross domestic product.
France and Britain will reportedly supply Ukraine with long-range cruise missiles capable of striking Russian forces and supplies within the front line. French President Macron affirmed that France would augment its provision of weapons and equipment to enable Ukraine to launch effective counterattacks. Germany also announced new military aid worth 700 million euros.
Sweden on the Path to NATO Membership
Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the eve of the NATO summit. Erdogan posed a condition to the EU: if the EU agrees to start accession talks with Turkey, Turkey would support Sweden’s acceptance into NATO. NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg confirmed that Turkey now backs Sweden’s accession.
Sweden’s decision to abandon its longstanding policy of non-alignment and join NATO is considered one of the most significant strategic consequences resulting from Russia’s actions in Ukraine.
International Interaction Prior and Post Summit
In addition to multilateral engagement during the NATO summit, leaders of observer countries held bilateral meetings prior to the event. For instance, Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau visited Latvia, where both parties signed the Battle Group “Stronger NATO Border Presence” (EFP) agreement. This agreement sets the foundation for future military relations between the two countries.
Canada also announced its commitment to increase its presence in Latvia, with its troop deployment growing to 2,200 over the next three years. As the leader of an international NATO force in Latvia since 2017, Canada currently has approximately 800 troops stationed in the country. Additionally, Canada has allocated $2.6 billion, with $1.4 billion announced in the 2022 federal budget, to support NATO efforts. Furthermore, Canada plans to send 15 “Leopard 2” main battle tanks and a tank squadron comprising approximately 131 personnel to Latvia by next spring.
The decisions made at the NATO summit will undoubtedly place significant pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Kremlin accused NATO of perceiving Russia as an “enemy” and warned of closely monitoring the summit’s outcomes while promising to respond accordingly. The world eagerly awaits Putin’s response.
Zelensky attends the NATO summit
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters at the summit on Tuesday, “President Zelenskiy will come. He is welcome at the meeting.”
In addition, NATO will establish a new NATO-Ukraine Council during the summit to raise the official status of NATO-Ukraine relations, allowing Ukraine to participate directly in broader discussions on NATO security and consult with allies on its security concerns.
According to the analysis, Zelensky’s participation in the summit undoubtedly has two main goals, one is to seek more military support from NATO, and the other is the issue of Ukraine’s accession to NATO.
Before the summit, the president of Ukraine put pressure on NATO to allow the country to join the alliance as soon as possible, but the main members led by the President of the United States Joe Biden believe that it is not appropriate to do so in times of war. However, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Tuesday that he was “confident” the summit would send a “positive and strong message” about Ukraine’s path to NATO membership. Once the time is right, NATO will allow Ukraine to join NATO faster according to the plan he proposed. The simplified membership program will remove the Member State Action Plan (MAP) requirement, which will transform the membership program process in Ukraine from a two-step process to a one-step process.
Many countries have announced new aid
FirstlyThe United States had led the announcement on Friday of an $800 million aid package that includes controversial cluster munitions for Ukraine. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told US media in Lithuania on Tuesday that Ukraine will receive a strong package of “political and practical” support from NATO allies at the summit. “We have a united coalition that will show its continued support for Ukraine in very practical ways, including joining NATO.”
On the same day, the Prime Minister of Norway announced that Ukraine urgently needed more military support and equipment. Norway will provide $960 million in military aid to Ukraine in 2023.
According to the Norwegian government, Norway will provide Ukraine with more than $7.2 billion in civil and military aid over five years and $144,000 “to support reforms in Ukraine” over the same period.
In addition to promising financial aid to Ukraine, Norway promised during the summit to increase defense spending to at least 2 percent of the gross domestic product.
France will join Britain in supplying Ukraine with long-range cruise missiles with a range of up to 250 kilometers (155 miles), a move that would allow Ukrainian forces to strike Russian troops and supplies deep within the front line, he said. French officials on Tuesday. . French President Macron said that France has decided to increase the supply of additional weapons and equipment to Ukraine in order to help Ukraine to be able to carry out deep strikes in its counterattack.
Germany will provide new military aid worth 700 million euros to Ukraine, German Chancellor Scholz said on Tuesday.
Sweden on track to join NATO
On Monday (July 10), the day before the NATO summit, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson. Erdogan’s new condition is: if the EU agrees to start accession talks with Turkey, Turkey will agree to NATO accepting Sweden. NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg also announced that Turkey finally supports Sweden’s accession to NATO.
Sweden is set to end its long-standing military policy of non-alignment and become a new member of NATO, in what is seen as one of the biggest strategic consequences of Russia’s war in Ukraine to date.
International interaction before and after the summit
The leaders of the observing countries participating in the NATO summit not only met multilaterally during the meeting, but also held mutual visits before the summit. For example: Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau visited Latvia on Monday (July 10), and both sides signed the Battle Group “Stronger NATO Border Presence” (EFP) agreement. The Canadian side said that this is an important blueprint for the military relations between the two countries in the future.
Canada also announced that the Canadian contingent in Latvia will grow to as many as 2,200 troops over the next three years, more than doubling its current deployment. Canada has been leading an international NATO force in Latvia since 2017. Currently, approximately 800 Canadian troops are stationed in Latvia. Canada has pledged $2.6 billion starting in 2023-24, of which $1.4 billion was announced in the 2022 federal budget. In June of this year, Canada announced that by next spring the Canadian army will send 15 “Leopard 2” main battle tanks and a Leopard 2 tank squadron consisting of approximately 131 personnel for NATO forces in Latvia. The equipment is expected to arrive in Latvia this autumn, with all personnel in place next spring.
Many decisions made at the NATO summit will put immense pressure on Russia’s Putin. The Kremlin accused NATO of seeing Russia as an “enemy” and threatened to closely monitor any decisions made at the NATO summit and respond with appropriate measures. How is Putin receiving the move? Wait and see.
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