NATO Defence Ministers to address defence spending, ammunition production, support to Ukraine

  • 14 Feb. 2024 -
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  • Last updated: 14 Feb. 2024 12:40

Defence Ministers will meet in Brussels on Thursday (15 February 2024) to prepare the NATO Summit in Washington in July.

Press conference by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg

Previewing the meeting on Wednesday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg highlighted historic progress on defence spending. He announced that “last year, we saw an unprecedented rise of 11% across European Allies and Canada” and that this year, he expects 18 Allies – a record number – to spend 2% of their GDP on defence. “Since the Investment Pledge was made in 2014, European Allies and Canada have added more than 600 billion US dollars for defence,” he said, “so we are making real progress.”

Ministers will also discuss the progress made in ramping up production of ammunition. “In the past few months, NATO has agreed contracts worth ten billion dollars,” said Mr Stoltenberg. Ministers will also address the resourcing of NATO’s new defence plans. The Secretary General explained that “right now, we are testing these plans through exercise Steadfast Defender, the largest NATO exercise in decades” with approximately 90,000 forces from all 31 Allies and Sweden.

NATO’s support to Ukraine will also be on the agenda. The Secretary General stressed that our support makes a real difference, noting that “with our help, the brave Ukrainians have retaken half of the territory that Russia seized, opened a corridor in the Black Sea and are inflicting heavy losses on Russian forces.” He welcomed the recent decision by the European Union on a major new package of aid and said he counted on the US Congress to follow soon, because “this is not charity, this is an investment in our own security.”

On Wednesday, the US-led Ukraine Defence Contact Group will meet at NATO Headquarters to address the situation on the ground and Ukraine’s urgent needs. On Thursday, Defence Ministers will discuss how to further strengthen NATO’s deterrence and defence, followed by a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Council with the participation of the Ukrainian Defence Minister, Rustem Umerov.