NATO Weighs Taking Over Ukraine Defense Contact Group

By John Mercury April 5, 2024

With continued American aid to Ukraine stalled and the looming prospect of a second Trump presidency, NATO’s top diplomat said on Wednesday that the alliance was poised to take more control over military support sent to Ukraine — a role that the United States has played for the past two years.

Details are still being worked out, but Jens Stoltenberg, the NATO secretary general, said foreign ministers meeting in Brussels agreed to pursue plans to give the military alliance more oversight in coordinating security assistance and training for Ukraine.

Should the plan comes to fruition, it would represent a shift from NATO’s previous reluctance to be pulled more directly into the conflict and risk a severe military response from President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia. And it is not certain that NATO’s most powerful member, the United States, ultimately will agree to a measure that could dilute its influence.

But Mr. Stoltenberg said it was necessary to ensure that Ukraine could rely on NATO for years to come in a war with no immediate end in sight.

“The Ukrainians are not running out of courage — they’re running out of ammunition,” Mr. Stoltenberg said at NATO headquarters. “We need to step up now and ensure our support is built to last.”

He echoed impatience across the alliance with the United States’ delay in sending Ukraine a $60 billion aid package that congressional Republicans have stalled for six months. “We have a responsibility as NATO allies to take the decisions, and to ensure that the Ukrainians get the ammunition they must have, to be able to continue to push back the Russian invaders,” Mr. Stoltenberg said. “So it is urgent that the United States make a decision.”


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