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Politico: Allies consider moving Ramstein group under NATO control to shield it from Trump

by Martin Fornusek April 3, 2024 11:09 AM 2 min read
U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Ukraine's Defense Minister Rustem Umerov during the 20th Ramstein-format meeting in Germany on March 19, 2024. (Rustem Umerov/Facebook)
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Washington and its partners are considering moving the U.S.-led Ukraine Defense Contact Group (UDCG), also known as Ramstein format, under NATO control to maintain weapons supplies to Kyiv even if Donald Trump returns to the White House, Politico reported on April 2, citing four undisclosed sources.

The allies are expected to discuss this and other options of protecting aid to Kyiv from a potential second Trump presidency during a NATO ministerial meeting in Brussels on April 4, Politico said with reference to three European officials and a U.S. official.

Former U.S. President Trump and the Republican Party's presumptive nominee for the 2024 presidential run have long criticized the U.S. aid to Ukraine, a position in line with his "America First" foreign policy views.

The ex-president claimed that he would be able to negotiate peace in Ukraine within 24 hours, although he did not elaborate on concrete steps to achieve this. In February, Trump suggested that the U.S. should provide funding to Ukraine as loans rather than aid.

Trump also raised concerns among NATO allies when he said he would encourage Russia to do "whatever the hell it wants" to members who do not meet the 2% defense spending mark.

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According to Politico, the allies proposed to finalize the transition of the UDCG under NATO's control during an upcoming Washington summit in July.

Another proposal on the table would see NATO being given a "more formalized seat at the table within the Ukraine group, as opposed to moving it under NATO control," the outlet wrote, citing one of the sources.

"Pulling this under NATO kind of isolates it from a Trump presidency, or even from a U.S. that might get distracted by China and can't keep it going or can't get his own funding act together," former Pentagon and NATO official Jim Townsend told Politico.

The U.S. Defense Department has not publicly confirmed such plans.

The UDCG comprises over 50 countries, including all 32 NATO members, and has been meeting regularly since April 2022 to coordinate military support for Ukraine in its fight against Russian aggression. The last meeting was held on March 19.

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