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Stoltenberg: Ukraine's trust in NATO 'dented' by aid delays

by Chris York April 30, 2024 8:27 PM 2 min read
Jens Stoltenberg, secretary general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), during a news conference on the opening day of the annual NATO Summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, on July 11, 2023. (Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
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NATO has "not delivered what we have promised" and delays in aid to Kyiv have "put a dent" into Ukraine's trust of the military alliance, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on April 30.

Ukraine has faced a worsening situation on the battlefield in recent weeks as well as an increase in successful Russian aerial attacks, both compounded by delays in Western assistance, particularly the months-long wait for the latest U.S. aid package. The European Union also fell short of its target of providing Ukraine with one million rounds of artillery shells by March.

Speaking to Reuters as he traveled out of Ukraine after a meeting with President Volodymyr Zelensky on April 29, the NATO chief said an overhaul of how international military aid was coordinated was required.

"We need a more robust, institutionalized framework for our support to ensure predictability, to ensure more accountability and to ensure burden-sharing," he said.

"Of course, the fact that we have not delivered what we promised has put a dent ... into the trust."

Stoltenberg arrived in Kyiv on April 29 for a previously unannounced visit, his third to Ukraine since the beginning of the full-scale Russian invasion.

It took place amid a deteriorating situation on the battlefield and Stoltenberg has said that the almost seven-month delay in U.S. assistance for Kyiv "has had real consequences."

Stoltenberg suggested on April 30 that one possible solution was to create a multi-year plan that clearly sets out the contributions expected from each NATO member.

"That will make it easier to plan. It will make it clear what each and every ally is expected to deliver," Stoltenberg said.

On April 30, Zelensky said Ukraine would join NATO only after defeating Russia's full-scale invasion.

Stoltenberg said the alliance also aims to help Ukraine get as close as possible to NATO standards as part of its integration process, adding that there is "a lot of work ahead."

"When we invite a country to join the alliance, we need not just a majority, but the perfect agreement between all 32 members," Stoltenberg said, adding that a consensus about the path toward Ukraine's membership has not been reached yet, but the alliance is "currently working on it."

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