NATO confirms Ukraine’s ‘irreversible’ path to membership with €40bn aid pledge

75th NATO Summit in Washington DC, 10 July 2024. Photo: EPA-EFE/MICHAEL REYNOLDS

75th NATO Summit in Washington DC, 10 July 2024. Photo: EPA-EFE/MICHAEL REYNOLDS

NATO leaders issued a joint declaration on Wednesday pledging a further €40 billion of aid for Ukraine over the next year, which it said was to support Kyiv on its “irreversible” path to membership in the alliance.

The pledge, made during a NATO summit in Washington DC, committed the organisation to provide “minimum baseline funding” of €40 billion to Ukraine between now and its next summit in June 2025. The sum matches the annual amount NATO has provided to Kyiv in military aid since Russia began its full-scale invasion of Ukraine over two years ago.

The alliance also formally declared Ukraine’s path to NATO membership “irreversible” in a symbolic move that, while falling short of an official invitation, reaffirms its long-term support for Kyiv’s closer integration with the organisation.

While praising Ukraine’s recent progress on the “democratic, economic and security reforms” it is required to make before it can join the alliance, NATO leaders stressed that the organisation would only be prepared to extend a formal invitation for Kyiv to join “when allies agree and conditions are met”.

The declaration also announced the establishment of the NATO Security Assistance and Training for Ukraine (NSATU), a body to “coordinate the provision of military equipment and training for Ukraine by allies and partners”.

Stressing that the NSATU would not make NATO a party to the war in Ukraine, the document said the new body would ensure “enhanced, predictable and coherent support” for Ukraine and enable its “further integration” into the organisation.

On Monday, US President Joe Biden announced that several NATO countries would provide Kyiv with a further five strategic air defence systems to repel Russian aerial attacks, before confirmation came on Tuesday that a batch of 24 Dutch and Danish F-16 fighter jets had also been transferred to Ukraine.

The declaration singled out Iran, North Korea, Belarus and China for “facilitating” Russian aggression in Ukraine through political and military support, naming China in particular as a “decisive enabler” of the war due to its deepening economic partnership with the Kremlin.

Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev took to Telegram to criticise NATO’s pledge of continued support for Kyiv, writing that Russia should make efforts to ensure Ukraine’s path to NATO membership ended “with either the disappearance of Ukraine or the disappearance of NATO — or, better yet, both”.

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