At Summit, NATO Reiterates It Will Fight Russia to the Last Ukrainian


Peoples Dispatch - TRANSCEND Media Service

At the Vilnius summit, NATO assured more arms to Ukraine to fight Russians instead of Zelensky’s much-desired accession to the war alliance.

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12 Jul 2023 – The two-day NATO summit concluded in Vilnius, Lithuania, and Ukraine continues to wait for membership into the military alliance. President Volodymyr Zelensky was, however, offered a three-part package of support to ensure the continuation of the war against Russia.

The package includes the establishment of the NATO-Ukraine Council, which according to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, “will meet as equals, hold crisis consultations, and jointly take decisions.” On the sidelines of the summit, various NATO countries have committed to a multi-year program of assistance to help the Ukrainian armed forces transition from Soviet-era to NATO equipment and standards and become fully interoperable with NATO forces. The summit also decided to exempt Ukraine from having to go through a Membership Action Plan, a mandatory requirement for NATO membership, to smooth its accession to the alliance when the time is appropriate, such as at the end of the war. Earlier, the way was cleared for Sweden’s NATO membership after Turkey agreed to lift its veto.

According to reports, France has agreed to send long-range SCALP-EG cruise missiles (Storm Shadow missiles), while the UK assured USD 65 million for equipment repair and 70 additional military vehicles along with thousands of rounds of ammunition for the Challenger 2 tanks it has already given Ukraine. Germany committed to a USD 771 million package, including an additional 40 Marder infantry fighting vehicles, 25 Leopard 1 A5 main battle tanks, and two launch units for the Patriot air defense system while Norway will provide 1,000 small reconnaissance drones to Ukraine, media reports said. NATO countries also made an agreement to speed up the training of F-16 fighter pilots.

Regarding the discussions, Zelensky tweeted that “we all need certainty—in particular, institutional certainty. And it is very good that the NATO-Ukraine Council can really give us the necessary institutional certainty.” On the first day of the summit however, Zelensky had been extremely critical of Ukraine not being granted membership, calling the lack of a timetable absurd.

He has also raised his concerns regarding the “conditions” that Ukraine must meet in order to receive an invitation to NATO. “The absolute majority of our people expect specifics about these conditions. We perceive them as security conditions,” he added.

In its response to the French assurance to send long-range cruise missiles to Ukraine, Dmitry Sergeyevich Peskov, the press secretary for Russian president Vladimir Putin, stated that “it is a mistake fraught with consequences for the Ukrainian side, as naturally, this will force us to take countermeasures.”

Prior to the summit, Russia had also warned that Ukraine’s possible accession to NATO will evoke “a fairly clear and firm reaction from Russia.”

Meanwhile, Arnold Schölzel reported in the German communist publication Unsere Zeit (UZ) that the summit also saw the concretization of the new strategic concept adopted at the last NATO summit in Madrid in June 2022.

“NATO is also formally returning to the Cold War in which Germany will cater as a logistical hub for the transfer of troops and material to the new military mobilizations in the region and will also assume the responsibility for the eastern flank. In the future, instead of the current 40,000 NATO soldiers, 300,000 are to be kept on high alert,” he added.

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