The head of NATO exhorts partners to keep helping Ukraine despite financial delays in the US and Europe.
NATO foreign ministers have gathered in Brussels for security talks as Russia continues its assault on Ukraine and Israel begins the fifth day of a precarious ceasefire with Hamas.
As the NATO commander encouraged partners to continue assisting the war-torn nation despite financing hold-ups in Washington and Europe, the Russia-Ukraine conflict seemed to be at the top of the agenda for the two-day meeting that got underway on Tuesday.
According to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, “I’m confident that the United States will continue to provide support because it is in the security interest of the United States to do so and it’s also in line with what we have agreed.”
“Allies are committed to continuing to deliver support, and I urge them to do the same,” he continued.
The US Congress is delaying planned US help to Ukraine worth around $61 billion, while Hungary is posing obstacles to a second $50 billion EU aid package.
Twenty-one months into the conflict, Step Vaessen of Al Jazeera, reporting from Brussels, claimed that the financing delays are a sign of “fatigue” on the part of certain NATO members.When he attends the conference on Wednesday, Dmytro Kuleba, the senior diplomat for Ukraine, will attempt to get over this tiredness and advocate for ongoing NATO support.
Additionally, Kuleba will collaborate with NATO ministers to develop a reform blueprint intended to facilitate Ukraine’s eventual admittance to the security alliance.
Russia has stated that its resentment of neighboring Ukraine, which it has repeatedly advised not to join the alliance, stems from NATO expansionism.
Estimates have the number of Russian and Ukrainian soldiers dead or injured since Moscow’s army incursion across its neighbor’s border in February 2022 at around 500,000.
The UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine has reported that at least 10,000 civilians have also perished in the fighting.
increased regional security
NATO ministers were scheduled to talk about Russia’s “destabilizing actions” in the region, including claims that it has been facilitating illegal migrants’ entry into Finland, in addition to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
Following reports of an inflow of migrants at its border with Russia, Finland shuttered almost all of its border crossings with that country last week.
The conflict between Serbia and Kosovo, where NATO has recently increased military levels to bolster its peacekeeping operation in the wake of an attack on Kosovo police, will also be discussed.
The seven-week conflict between Israel and Hamas is also expected to be discussed by the ministers, even if it isn’t specifically on the agenda.
The ministers would talk about “not only the extension of the ceasefire [between Israel and Hamas], but a future for Gaza after the war is finished,” according to Al Jazeera’s Vaessen.
Sweden’s application to join
Sweden’s membership status, which has been pending confirmation from Turkey and Hungary for the past eighteen months, is hanging over the meeting.
On Tuesday, Stoltenberg stated to Hungarian media that he anticipated both nations would quickly accept Sweden’s application for membership, although he did not specify when.
After President Recep Tayyip Erdogan initiated the process after reaching an agreement at a NATO meeting in July, the Turkish parliament began debating Sweden’s proposal to join this month.
Erdogan had put off the ratification procedure because of long-standing accusations that Sweden is not doing enough to combat armed Kurdish groups in its borders that Turkey views as “terrorist” organizations.
At their summit in Brussels, NATO’s other partners had intended to formally welcome Sweden into the alliance; but, Turkey’s ratification procedure is still in committee form in the parliament.