NATO Secretary General previews meeting of Allied Defence Ministers
NATO Defence Ministers are meeting in Brussels on Wednesday and Thursday (15-16 June 2022) to address how to make NATO stronger and further support partner nations. Ministers will be joined this evening by Ukraine’s Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov to update Allies on what Ukraine urgently needs.
Allies and partners have already provided Ukraine with billions of dollars’ worth of military equipment, as well as economic and humanitarian aid. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said: “Allies are committed to continue providing the military equipment that Ukraine needs to prevail, including heavy weapons and long-range systems.” Mr. Stoltenberg said he expected Allies will agree a comprehensive assistance package for Ukraine at the Madrid Summit. It would help Ukraine for the longer-term, to transition from Soviet-era to modern NATO equipment, and to improve interoperability with NATO. Allied Ministers will also be joined for their discussions this evening by Georgia, Sweden, Finland, and the European Union.
NATO Defence Ministers will also address the need to significantly strengthen the Alliance’s deterrence and defence. In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the number of NATO battlegroups has doubled to eight and more than 40,000 troops are now under direct NATO command. Mr. Stoltenberg said: “We will now take decisions on the scale and design of our posture for the longer term. To ensure that we can defend every inch of Allied territory. From the first moment, at all times, and against any threat. This will mean more presence, capabilities and readiness” He said that would mean more NATO forward deployed combat formations to strengthen the battlegroups in the East, more air, sea and cyber defences, pre-positioned equipment and weapon stockpiles. He also highlighted a new force model, with more forces at higher readiness, and specific forces pre-assigned to the defence of specific Allies.
The Secretary General said the US-led Ukraine Support Contact Group would also meet at NATO to discuss Ukraine’s urgent needs for military equipment and he thanked the United States for its leadership and coordination.