NATO Allies Temper Expectations on $100bn Ukraine Fund

NATO allies are adjusting their expectations regarding the feasibility of a proposed $100 billion fund to support Ukraine, signalling challenges in securing sufficient aid for Kyiv amid ongoing discussions within the alliance.

During a gathering of NATO foreign ministers in Brussels, doubts were raised about the practicality of sourcing fresh funding for NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg’s ambitious plan to aggregate allied contributions over five years. Some countries suggested pledging a smaller amount that would garner clearer support from allies, according to a senior diplomat familiar with the discussions.

Amidst the deliberations, concerns were voiced regarding the potential overlap between NATO’s initiative and bilateral and EU aid efforts. Many ministers emphasised the importance of avoiding duplicity in aid provisions and cautioned against making promises to Ukraine that could not be fulfilled. The proposed $100 billion fund, deemed significant in scale, may need to account for bilateral donations already extended to Ukraine, potentially limiting the scope of additional fresh funding.

“We have to avoid duplicity, double accountabilities, counting twice the money or buying the same things,” remarked Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares.

While concerns persist, there remains a collective commitment among NATO allies to ensure Ukraine receives the necessary support both in terms of volume and duration. However, reaching a consensus on the proposed fund poses a formidable challenge ahead of the leaders’ summit in Washington in July.

The discussions coincide with mounting apprehensions about the situation in Ukraine, particularly regarding severe ammunition shortages for Kyiv’s forces. With warming weather increasing the likelihood of renewed Russian attacks in the coming months, there is growing urgency to bolster Ukraine’s defences.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba urged NATO members to enhance Ukraine’s air defences, including the deployment of the US-made Patriot system, crucial for intercepting ballistic missiles.

In addition to the proposed fund, NATO is considering assuming a greater role in coordinating weapons deliveries to Ukraine, a departure from its previous stance to distance itself from allies’ weapons aid. The move seeks to establish a more predictable and sustainable system of support for Ukraine.

While the mechanics of the proposed fund are still under discussion, it is likely to be based on countries’ gross domestic product, potentially addressing concerns about burden-sharing among allies. However, scepticism persists among some allies, including France, which underscored the importance of tangible weapons and ammunition deliveries for Ukraine’s defence.

As NATO continues its deliberations, the focus remains on finding pragmatic solutions to support Ukraine effectively while navigating the complex dynamics within the alliance.

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