On the margins of the informal NATO-Ukraine high-level consultations in Warsaw, a NATO-Ukraine Memorandum of Understanding on Strategic Airlift was signed on 7 June by Ukrainian Defence Minister Yevhen Marchuk and Admiral Miguel Fernandez, who is the representative in Europe of the Supreme Allied Commander for Transformation.
“The importance of strategic airlift capability in the current strategic environment is obvious,” said NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, who presided over the signing. “It provides us with the ability to move forces quickly to the theatres of operations, whenever and wherever required. Ukraine is one of the few nations that has this important capability. This agreement, once it is ratified and brought into force, will greatly facilitate the consideration by the Alliance of contracting Ukrainian airlift capabilities.”
NATO lacks sufficient capability for outsize cargo and several Allies are, in fact, already chartering Ukrainian heavy-lift aircraft for the NATO-led operation in Afghanistan. This framework agreement should help Allies achieve targets agreed to under the Prague Capabilities Commitment in the area of improving airlift capabilities.